Wed, Jun 27, 2012 - Page 14 News List

‘Green’ scooters transform Penghu Islands, tourism

By George Liao  /  Staff reporter

The Penghu Islands have become a mecca for “green” transportation and tourism because of an electric scooter project sponsored by the government, a Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) official told reporters yesterday.

“This year, one can see a big change in the Penghu Islands, because of the favorable subsidies local people have received for their purchases of electric scooters since May last year,” said Michael Shen (沈維正), deputy director of the ministry’s Metal and Mechanical Industries Division.

“The program has been well supported by local residents as well as the hotel, tourism and rental industries,” Shen said.

More and more locals and tourists have begun to use quiet, smoke-free electric scooters to get around the islands, he added.

To further promote the “green” transportation craze on the islands and provide infrastructure, the ministry has set up 27 smart electric scooter charging stations with a total of 330 charging pumps throughout the island in cooperation with the local government since the beginning of this year, bringing the total charging stations on the islands to 73 and total pumps to 551, Shen said.

The ministry last year initiated a three-year national subsidy program for purchasing electric scooters that gives subsidies of NT$7,200 (US$243) and NT$10,000 to purchase mopeds and light scooters respectively.

Those figures compared with subsidies of NT$17,000 and NT$24,000

for the same categories of vehicles purchased on the Penghu Islands.

From the beginning of this year to June 17, a total of 987 electric scooters were purchased under the program, representing growth of 45 percent from 678 electric scooters purchased between May 1 and the end of last year, according to the ministry’s data.

Users can use smart EasyCards to pay for recharging at the smart charging stations, Shen said, adding that recharging at these stations is free until the end of next year under the government sponsorship deal.

The islands have many cultural and natural attractions, and touring the islands from one end to the other would take about three full batteries, Shen said, adding that a full charge takes about two hours, but there are stations for quick charging where it only takes about 20 minutes to give a battery a full recharge.

The charging stations throughout the islands provide charging services and battery exchanges to facilitate hassle-free “green” transportation and bring a very enjoyable travel experience to visitors riding the electric scooters, Shen added.

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