Energy firm building an ecosystem for electric motorcycles

Anyone who has ever visited Thailand knows that motorcycle taxis are one of the most widely used forms of transportation, especially for urban commuters navigating traffic jams. But motorcycles also emit tons of greenhouse gasses.

Now, energy firm Bangchak Corporation has begun building an ecosystem to transform the nearly 200,000 motorcycle taxis in Bangkok into clean green battery-powered electric vehicles that will make the Thai capital an even smarter city.

Bangchak has launched a project in which it will build battery swapping and service facilities for motorcycles. One barrier in convincing drivers to switch to electric motorcycles and vehicles is the long time it takes to charge the batteries. At a Bangchak station, drivers can simply exchange a depleted battery for a charged one.

The company is rolling out a mobile phone app that drivers can use to locate the closest battery-swapping station when their charge is running low.

Electric vehicles and next-generation automotive technology is a targeted and supported industry in Thailand 4.0, the national strategy to propel the Kingdom to a higher level of development through innovation and green technology.

Bangchak is encouraging motorcycle taxi drivers to join the pilot project by renting them electric motorcycles, so they don’t have to invest in buying a vehicle if they are not sure that electric vehicles will catch on.

The pilot project will run for three months. Bangchak President Chaiwat Kovavisarach said that the results would determine if the company scales up the ecosystem to cover the whole city.

While Bangchak’s primary goals are transitioning to a greener, more sustainable, and innovative business model to stay competitive, Chaiwat said the company is also concerned with reducing financial stress on motorcycle taxi drivers, who are low-income earners.

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