Japanese e-vehicle maker expands in PH

By Louella D. Desiderio, The Philippine Star

Posted at May 16 2014 08:12 AM | Updated as of May 16 2014 04:12 PM

MANILA - Japanese electric vehicle (EV) maker Terra Motors has raised $10 million to make the Philippines its production hub in Asia and support operations in the region.

According to Terra Motors Corp., it received funding from investors such as California based Fenox Venture Capital and Japanese firms Mizuho Capital Co. Ltd., Shinsei Bank Ltd., SMBC Venture Capital Co. Ltd., and Aizawa Securities Co. Ltd.

“By this fund raising, we got ready for partnering with Asian business groups,” Terra Motors chief executive officer Toru Tokushige said.

Part of the secured funds would be invested for the production operations in the firm’s factory in Calamba, Laguna.

This, as the company intends to make the Philippines its production hub in Asia.

“In near future, Terra will export EV from Philippines to the other Asian countries. Philippines’ production factory is a hub for Asian market,” the firm said.

Terra Motors aims to sell a total of 100,000 EVs in the Asian region by next year as it aims to enter markets such as India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Taiwan and Thailand.

Aside from Japan and the Philippines, the firm has a presence in Vietnam.

“Generally speaking, EV tends to be considered as mobility for developed countries. However, when it comes to electric two wheelers and three wheelers, the main markets are Asian emerging countries,” Tokushige said.

Earlier, he said the firm intends to start production of the electric tricycles in the Philippines within the year.

“At the beginning, we will start mass production at 500 units a month,” he said.

Terra Motors is among the parties which submitted bids for the Asian Development Bank and Department of Energy’s e-trike project.

It is also the first firm to have produced the working e-trike unit according to the project design.

The project involves the roll-out of 100,000 e-trikes to local government units on a rent-to-own scheme until 2016.