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Japanese EV firm raises $10M for Asian network

Terra Motors prepares to increase output of factory in Laguna

MANILA, Philippines—Terra Motors Corp., Japan’s top electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, has raised $10 million to fund business expansion and local partnerships in Asian markets such as the Philippines.

Terra Motors is fielding e-bikes and e-trikes locally in support of the Department of Energy’s EV drive.

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Among the investors that supported the fund-raising were California-based Fenox Venture Capital and Japanese venture capital firms such as Mizuho Capital Co., Ltd. and Asian Electric Vehicle (EV) Markets.

Terra Motors CEO and founder Toru Tokushige said in a statement that with the fundraising done, his company was ready to tie-up with key partners in Asian markets and boost production in an EV factory in Calamba, Laguna.

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The factory is set to start producing e-trikes around the third quarter of 2014.

The Japanese EV maker aims to export its e-trikes from the Philippines, its regional production hub, to other countries in Asia. The company wants to achieve 100,000 unit sales in Asian market by 2015.

“When it comes to electric two wheelers (bikes) and three wheelers (tricycles or trikes), the main markets are Asian emerging countries. In 2013, more than 30 million units of electric two wheelers were sold in China—beyond annual sales of gasoline two wheelers. And hundreds of thousands of electric three wheelers were sold in India and Bangladesh, because of the high price of gasoline,” Tokushige said.

In the Philippines, there are more than 3.5 million units of gasoline-fueled tricycles although gasoline prices are prone to sudden increases.

“In the electric automotive industry, Tesla Motors has a big presence globally. But if you look at the electric two wheelers and three wheelers industry, there is no company with a similar presence. So we would like to take Tesla’s positioning in this area, especially in the Asian market,” Tokushige said.

Terra Motors is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, and has regional branches in the Philippines and Vietnam.

In 2014, the company said, it plans to penetrate India and Bangladesh, and later into Indonesia, Taiwan and Thailand.

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TAGS: Business, electric vehicles, expansion, Japan, Philippines, Terra Motors, transportation
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