Sun, Mar 14, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Production of electric vehicles to be increased

CNA , TAIPEI

The annual four-day Taipei International Cycle Show at the Taipei World Trade Center showcased electric vehicles on Friday, with an official saying that Taiwan will up its production of some kinds of the environmentally friendly vehicles by 10 percent to 20 percent this year.

The official from the Industrial Development Bureau under the Ministry of Economic Affairs said that with societies across the globe seeing the proportion of elderly rising, the need for more low-speed electric vehicles will gradually increase. These electric wheelchairs and other vehicles are also needed by the handicapped, he added.

Taiwan's output of these electric vehicles will increase to 400,000 units this year, compared with 300,000 units last year. Taiwan expects to outpace South Korea in global market share in 2004, he added.

Electric scooters were first introduced in Taiwan in 1998 and roughly 23,000 of them have been sold, but because of high prices, the cancellation of subsidized purchase plans, difficult maintenance and being inconvenient to charge, sales have been slow.

Manufacturers are now turning their attention to light electric vehicles that have a cruising range of only about 30km on a single charge, compared with 50km to 60km for electric scooters. The official said that the current thinking is to target potential users who would only drive the vehicles around town.

These vehicles retail for around NT$20,000 and Taiwan will produce 100,000 of them this year.

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