Onion Mobility Co Ltd has reportedly sold “more than 500” units of its locally-assembled ONiON T1 electric rickshaw since pre-orders began late last year, a successful milestone in its ambitions to reduce pollution and costs of getting around in Cambodia, according to administration and human resources manager Met Sopha.
The three-wheelers are made at a factory located in Suvannaphum Investment Special Economic Zone (SEZ) of Samrong Ka’er III village, Samrong Thom commune, Kien Svay district, Kandal province. The facility was officially launched in May this year after several month of trial production.
USD20 million-assembly plant puts together 15 ONiON T1s on a typical day, although it is below maximum capacity, Sopha told media.
He mentioned that customers have lauded the rickshaws as “high-quality”, and that they, along with the available battery swapping services, mean notably lower fuel costs than their petrol or gas-powered counterparts.
The “spacious” ONiON T1 can travel as far as 120km on one charge, he said, adding that a battery swap costs about 10,000 riel (USD 2.50).
ONiON Mobility has built and commissioned 10 battery swap and charging stations in Phnom Penh and plans to set up at least one in each of Siem Reap, Preah Sihanouk and Battambang provinces, and potentially other strategically significant localities by end-2022 or the beginning of 2023, he revealed.
He further commented that the company also plans to produce electric motorcycles and other vehicles, and expects to distribute its products to neighboring and regional countries, tapping into the global trend of alternative-fuel vehicle adoption.
Of note, the government is committed to increase the share of electric vehicles (EV) in Cambodia to 40 per cent in cars and buses by 2050, and 70 per cent in motorcycles, in line with the Long-Term Strategy for Carbon Neutrality by 2050 and other initiatives, officials released.
One ONiON T1 driver, Chak Sambor, says he switched from an LPG- (liquefied petroleum gas) powered “Indian-style” rickshaw about four months ago, sold on the lower fueling costs and “acceptable” instalment payment plans, but he conceded that the number of charging stations is still very limited.
“Driving the electric rickshaw is much cheaper and the seats are bigger than those of the Indian ones. When I had an Indian-style rickshaw, and [gas] prices went up and there weren’t many passengers around, I’d have no money on hand and would be unable to make monthly payments [on the vehicle],” he said.
According to onionev.com, the ONiON T1 on average reduces fueling costs by about 20 per cent compared to its LPG-powered counterparts. The rickshaw is powered by a 9kW electric motor and 7.5kWh lithium-ion battery, both of which have an IP67 waterproof rating, and can hit a top speed of 50km/h.
ONiON Mobility’s South Korean-owned parent company MVLLABS Pte Ltd (MVL) is behind the TADA ride-hailing app, which has launched in Cambodia, Vietnam and Singapore, managed under their subsidiary, MVL TADA (Cambodia) Co Ltd.