Energy ministry to make Tuk-Tuk a product champion

The Ministry of Energy yesterday (Oct 4) revealed its plan to make “Tuk-Tuk” a product champion for export after Thailand has exported them to three countries in Europe.

It also plans to convert the existing 22,000 LPG-powered Tuk-Tuks in the country to run on electricity within five years.

Plan to make Tuk-Tuk a product champion and the conversion of fuel consumption from gas to battery came up after the ministry’s Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO) launched a pilot project for e-Tuk-Tuk or electric Tuk-Tuk with aim to have all LPG-powered Tuk-Tuks converted to e-Tuk-Tuks.

Under the pilot scheme, the ministry will provide subsidies to cover conversion costs for 100 Tuk-Tuks initially.

The Minister of Energy Gen Anantaporn Kanjanarat said the pilot scheme is the ministry’s effort to promote greater adoption of electric vehicles in public transportation services.

Under the scheme, the EPPO plans to convert 100 Tuk-Tuks to run on electricity.

Initially, 10 out of the first 100 regular Tuk-Tuks currently running on petrol and LPG will be converted to run on electricity for free.

Interested Tuk-Tuk drivers can apply with the King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi or apply online via the website until October 10.

Following this, the second round of the program will be launched whereby the remaining 90 screened applicants will be provided with 85% subsidies to cover conversion costs.

A budget of 76 million baht has been set aside for the plan which will come from the ministry’s Energy Conservation Fund.

Meanwhile 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.

However he admitted that the main hurdle to the plan was battery prices which currently costs around 100,000 baht and that it must be replaced every 5 years.

He said EPPO is in talks with seven manufacturers of electric and LPG-powered Tuk-Tuks about the possibility to make Tuk-Tuk a product champion for export worldwide.

Currently Thai Tuk-Tuks are popular and are sold in three countries in Europe, namely France, Sweden and Denmark.

He said if e-Tuk-Tuk is manufactured locally, it will be for commercial and personal use purposes.

At present manufacturers have to import battery to make e-Tuk-Tuks which is very costly at over 100,000 baht apiece.

But under the product champion, the state will promote the production of battery in the country, he said.

He said fuel consumption of LPG-powered Tuk-Tuk is 1.50 baht per kilometre while e-Tuk-Tuk is just 40 satang, meaning that it could save up to 1.10 baht for driver for a kilometre distance. And the e-Tuk-Tuk can travel between 70-100 kilomitres when the battery is fully charged.