Electric vehicles to enjoy boom in Taiwan in 5 years

There will be a boom in the popularity of electric vehicles in Taiwan in five or six years, Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang predicted Tuesday while presiding over a ceremony to mark the launch of a government project aimed at encouraging people to buy electric vehicles.

Shih noted that he arrived at the venue, the National Taiwan Science Education Center in Taipei, in an electric vehicle. "It’s really cozy," he said.

Although such vehicles are not cheap, with the Smart Electric Cars Pilot Project initiated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), people will have the chance to buy or lease such vehicles.

Moreover, under the three-year project, which has central government funding of NT$2.2 billion (US$72.79 million), local governments will begin to build basic infrastructure, including battery-charging stations, Shih said.

Once the market and relevant systems have expanded in five or six years, he said, the electric vehicle industry will "rise up greatly."

Under the MOEA project, Taipei in the north and Taichung in central Taiwan will be the first cities in the country to implement low-carbon transportation options.

In the capital city, Yulon Motor Co. will make available 40 of its Luxgen MPVs and 60 Tobe M’Car compact cars for short-term leasing, while the governments of Taipei and New Taipei will have the option of setting up 100 electric car charging stations around the Greater Taipei area in the coming years, according to the Taipei Metropolis Low-Carbon Travel Program.

In Taichung, the city government has plans to build 161 charging stations and has purchased 64 electric vehicles for public service use.

Shih said he expects that Tainan and Kaohsiung will soon catch up with the two pioneers in the promotion of low-carbon transport.