Call them tuk tuks, auto rickshaws, mototaxis or any one of several other names, but they’re one of the world’s most ubiquitous vehicles – three wheeled motorised people-movers
They’ve been a fixture on roads in Asia, South America, Africa and Italy for decades, and have more recently made their way into other European countries, USA and making their presence felt around the world. The electric motor means that unlike their gasoline counterparts, an electric tuktuk doesn’t make the distinctive “tuk-tuk” noise’; sounding more like ‘Bzzt Bzzt’! Thailand’s energy policymakers have promoted the first commercial launch of electric vehicles (EVs), starting by offering a 106 million THB subsidy to encourage tuk-tuk owners to switch over from liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) with the Energy ministry wanting to make the Tuk-Tuk a product champion. The subsidy comes from the Energy Conservation Fund (ECF) and will be granted to the first 100 tuk-tuk owners who switch to EVs. The first 10 owners will be granted a 100% subsidy, while the other 90 owners will be granted an 85% subsidy.
The subsidy covers the cost of converting the vehicles’ engines to be EVcompatible. The subsidy is part of a project to promote EVs and EV facilities in Thailand, as the country aims to become a regional EV hub over the next several years. EPPO director Thawarat Suttabutra revealed that the Ministry of Energy plans to convert all 22,000 Tuk-Tuks in the country to run on electricity within 5 years Last year, the ECF allocated more than 120 million THB in project finance for the development of 150 EV charging units in Bangkok and its outskirts, of which 79 are already up and running. The other 71 units are scheduled to be operational by the end of next year. Fuel consumption of LPG-powered Tuk-Tuk is described as 1.50 THB per kilometre while e-Tuk-Tuk is just 40 satang and travelling between 70-100 kilometres when the battery is fully charged. In June Chiang Mai’s Nakorn Lanna Cooperative announced that their request to bring 450 electric tuk-tuks to Chiang Mai has been approved by the Department of Land Transport. The new plan will see 450 new three-wheel electric commercial vehicles roll out. A spokesman said that prices would average 80 – 100 THB per trip. The initiative is aimed at helping reduce congestion in the city while also reducing pollution levels.
A startup from Gothenburg Sweden called Bzzt is using Stockholm as its launchpad, using electric mopeds that can travel up to 45 kilometers per hour. The company’s vision is to make taxi services available to everyone in the inner city, by offering prices comparable to public transport.