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Asia: Electric vehicles could reduce Asian oil reliance

Many Asian countries are trying to do their bit to improve the region’s air quality and reduce reliance on oil.
Electric vehicles could reduce Asian oil reliance (Credit: ABC)

In Cambodia, a company in the capital Phnom Penh has designed a new electric car – which its makers say they could manufacture for around $US10,000 – but they’re struggling to take it to large scale production.

Presenter: James Oaten

Speakers: Nhean Phaelleok, designer of Angkor EV 2013; Professor Graham Holmes, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology; Dr Rimawan, University Gadjah Mada, Indonesia; Sohail Hasnie, Asian Development Bank, Philippines

OATEN: The Angkor EV 2013 is a sleek looking vehicle that looks like it belongs in a future designs show, rather than the streets of Phnom Penh. The car’s maker – Heng Development – says there’s no shortage of interest in the new electronic car, from across South East Asia – but he’s yet to get the money to start commercial production.

NHEAN PHALLEOK: There are many people who want to buy and use the cars. But now our company is unable to produce the vehicles to meet such demand. So the company is planning to ask the government to help set up a large scale factory to produce electric Angkor cars. And after we’ll get the feedback from the government, the company will be in large scale operation.

OATEN: The car’s designer, Nhean Phalleok, says it can reach speeds of up to 60 kilometres an hour, and can run for up to 300 kilometres without a recharge. It’s got GPS, smart-phone integration, and keyless ignition. And the price tag is a relatively cheap, at $10,000. Everything was looking good for mass production, until a Hong Kong based company withdrew support to build up to one-thousand of the vehicles. No new international investors have stepped up.

NHEAN PHALLEOK: I believe that the people in Cambodia are happy to use electric cars because of a number of benefits. Firstly, it’s easy to park because it’s a mini-size car. Secondly, they’re 80 per cent cheaper to run than petrol powered cars.

OATEN: Not everyone loves the Angkor EV 2013. Innovation specialist, Professor Grahame Holmes from RMIT, is sceptical about the car’s supposedly cheap price tag.
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