A.P. Honda launches pilot electric bike sharing at Bangkok university
BANGKOK, NNA – A.P. Honda Co., Thai distributor of the Japanese motorcycle brand, has launched its first-ever PCX Electric Smart Station for motorbike sharing and battery charging in a pilot project to test its electronic vehicle sharing model in the Southeast Asian country.
Located in King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi in the southern Bangkok, the station offers eight Honda PCX Electric motorcycles, according to the press statement released on Monday.
Two more stations will be set up in the university within the first half of 2020.
The move is part of a joint EV feasibility project by A.P. Honda and the King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi. They had signed a memorandum of understanding in June to co-study consumer response to A.P. Honda’s third electric motorcycle model, the PCX Electric.
It was introduced in Thailand at Bangkok Motor Show in March last year, but has yet to be put on sale.
In the pilot sharing project, users will download a reservation and receive credits to ride the bikes for free. Riders have to return the bikes to the solar-powered station for charging once they have finished using them. The station, which is equipped with solar roof panels, will provide battery swapping, a more convenient service to users next year, said a spokesman for the company.
Thailand’s nascent electric motorcycle market is expected to see a steady growth in the coming years despite of the less rosy outlook for the whole motorcycle industry which is seemingly reaching a saturated level, Wanna Yongpisanphob, an analyst at Bank of Ayudhya’s research arm, told NNA in a phone interview.
She explained that new tax bill on the internal combustion engine motorcycles, which will come into effect starting next year, will further depress the market.
The new tax is expected to push up motorcycle prices by 200 baht ($6.6) to 1,500 baht based on how much a motorcycle emits carbon dioxide.
So far, the take-up rate for electric motorcycles in Thailand has registered 657 for the first ten months of this year, up from 136 for the whole of last year, according to data from Ministry of Transport’s Department of Land Transport.
From January to October, 1.51 million motorcycles were registered, up 2.4 percent from 1.47 million in the same period of 2018.
New motorcycle sales in Thailand are expected to hit 1.72 million in 2019, down 3.9 percent from 2018, according to a forecast by A.P. Honda. From January to August, 1.2 million units were sold, showing a 2 percent year-on-year drop from the same period of 2018.