Electric tuk-tuk from Terra Motors hopes to clean up in Southeast Asia

Auto rickshaws, also known as tuk-tuks, three-wheelers or by numerous other names, are a common sight on the streets of many Asian cities. An evolution of the traditional pulled or cycle rickshaw, the gasoline-powered vehicles, which are used as taxis, are a major source of pollution in many Asian cities. Japan’s Terra Motors hopes to capitalize on efforts to cut tuk-tuk pollution with its new electric three-wheeler aimed at emerging Southeast Asia markets.

Although they are generally powered by high polluting two-stroke engines, a number of governments in Southeast Asia are forcing changes in an effort to improve the air quality in major cities. Some are forcing a switch to CNG or LPG fuel, while others are banning two-stroke engines in favor of four-stroke engines. The Philippines government is embracing locally emission-free electric powered tuk-tuks, with plans to introduce some 100,000 such vehicles by 2016.

Terra Motors is aiming for a slice of this pie with its electric three-wheeler, alongside the wider goal of becoming the world’s biggest seller of electric tuk-tuks within the next two years. Likely strengthening the company’s bid, Terra Motors will produce the vehicles in the Philippines.

I want one.

Actually, the critter I want is designed to be an enclosed tandem for about the same price — $6300. Wouldn’t work as a cab; but, it would surely get me forth and back from town for a lot less than my old pickup truck.

6 thoughts on “Electric tuk-tuk from Terra Motors hopes to clean up in Southeast Asia

  1. List of X says:

    It will really be a question of how much this shiny electric thing costs and how long the battery lasts – the tuk-tuk drivers are not driving them just for fun, but to feed their families, and it’s very unlikely that a majority could afford to pay a premium just to buy an electric one.

    • Update: says:

      (1/20/15) “Terra Motors targets Indian market with R6 electric rickshaw” http://www.gizmag.com/terra-motors-r6-electric-rickshaw/35300/ The Philippine government is committed to having 100,000 electric rickshaws on the roads, beginning with 3,000 next year. However, the project, which was largely financed by the Asian Development Bank, hit snags last year according to the Philippine Star {link}, as the unit prices quoted jumped significantly. According to the company, the vehicle has fuel costs a thirteenth of what a gas-powered vehicle does (at the current gasoline pricing in India).

  2. New&Improved says:

    ‘Bulletproof’ battery: Kevlar membrane for safer, lighter lithium rechargeables http://www.ns.umich.edu/new/multimedia/slideshows/22645-bulletproof-battery-kevlar-membrane-for-safer-thinner-lithium-rechargeables According to one of the researchers, “The special feature of this material is we can make it very thin, so we can get more energy into the same battery cell size, or we can shrink the cell size.” See also “A dendrite-suppressing solid ion conductor from aramid nanofibers,” http://inventions.umich.edu/technologies/5420_dendrite-suppressing-solid-ion-conductor-from-aramid-nanofibers-and-other-nanofibers-made-by-layer-by-layer-assembly-and-its-variants

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