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Japan e-trike maker eyes PH factory

/ 09:44 PM November 04, 2013

The Japanese firm that produced the first working e-trike unit in the country based on the Department of Energy’s (DOE) design is studying economic zones in Laguna and nearby areas for factory development, an official said.

Terra Motors Corp. of Japan is scouting for an ideal site for an electric vehicle (EV) factory in the Philippines, business development director Shimpei Kato said.

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The factory may be set up in early 2014 depending on how receptive the local market is to EVs, Kato said. The $20 million previously said to be invested in the Philippines will likely fund the establishment of a factory as well as EV dealerships. He also noted that the company is in the running for an e-trike supply contract with the Philippine government through the bidding conducted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Kato said Terra Motors is in talks with various local governments and potential EV fleet owners who want to deploy EVs to save on imported fuel costs.

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The Philippine government and the ADB are in the process of bidding out a supply contract that is seen to get 100,000 e-trikes deployed on Philippine roads by 2016. The DOE is working with the ADB to promote the adoption of e-trikes first in Metro Manila and, later, throughout the country, to curb oil imports and pollution.

Terra Motors CEO Toru Tokushige earlier said the Japanese firm is even considering making the Philippines a hub for EV (e-trikes, e-bikes, and related products) manufacturing and distribution in Asia. Outside its Japanese home market and the Philippines, the company has EV orders from such markets as Thailand and Indonesia.

Unlike many EV suppliers, Terra Motors provides after-sales services and maintenance, Tokushige said.

Business development manager Teppei Seki has said the company is seeking tax breaks from the Board of Investments to help it manage the cost of producing the e-trike in the Philippines and eventually make the country a manufacturing hub for the vehicle.

Presently, there are 350 million tricycle units in the Philippines, many of which are air polluters and are costly to operate due to high fuel prices.

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TAGS: Business, electric vehicles, Japan, Terra Motors Corp.
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