Solar-powered tuk-tuks for Cambodia

PHNOM PENH - The Australia-based energy company Star8 has officially begun operations at its solar-powered factory just outside of Phnom Penh, where solar-powered tuk-tuks will be the mainstay of the company.

Hun Many, the youngest son of Premier Hun Sen, and Alison Burrows, the Australian ambassador to Cambodia, attended the inaugural ceremony, as did representatives from Coca-Cola, which has offered to initially subsidise the cost of some of the tuk-tuks.

“It is terrific to see people getting into energy efficiency as energy policy is very important for Cambodia,” Ms Burrows said.

The tuk-tuks are expected to sell for between $2,500 and $4,000 depending on size and power. On average, they will be able to travel distances of up to 120 kilometres at a top speed of 50 kph after a full charge.

The factory in Por Sen Chey district will employ up to 250 local staff and produce other solar-powered vehicles and products once it starts full-scale operations in May.

Ms Burrows said the embassy was not directly backing the project, but she was optimistic about Star8’s plan to manufacture an array of environmentally friendly products, including solar windows.

Asked if the embassy would consider installing solar windows, which the Star8 factory will manufacture, Burrows said it was a possibility. “I’ll check on that.”

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