An eco-friendly tuk-tuk featuring key parts from North East low carbon innovator Sevcon is to go into production in Asia with sales projected to reach 100,000 a year.
Gateshead-based Sevcon has partnered with Swedish manufacturer Clean Motion to develop the Zbee, a three-wheel city passenger vehicle.
It is being built and launched in Indonesia where it is being touted as a zero-emission alternative to the popular, high-emission bajaj – Indonesia’s version of the tuk-tuk automotive rickshaw.
The Zbee will be rolled out in the Indonesian capital Jakarta and plans are afoot to make it the low carbon passenger vehicle of choice across Asia.
Sevcon’s work on the vehicle has led to a visit to the region by a delegation from the Indonesian Counsel in London to explore the potential opportunities to work together in the low-carbon vehicle market.
Matt Boyle, president and chief executive of Sevcon, said: “The Indonesian Government is very keen to support jobs for Indonesian workers and wanted to see what potential there is to attract OEMs such as Sevcon to Indonesia.
“This is a significant contract for Sevcon with our partner Clean Motion aiming for sales of 100,000 a year.
“The Zbee features our popular Gen 4 motor controller and has the potential to become the leading low-carbon passenger vehicle in many of the world’s major cities.”
Sevcon’s Gen4 controller acts as the brains of the vehicle controlling the speed and movement, and as well as integrating these functions, it also helps optimise the battery’s energy consumption.
Founded in 2009 Clean Motion of Sweden has spent several years developing sustainable transport solutions that reduce emissions.
Clean Motion CEO Goran Folkesson said: “Zbee represents a paradigm shift in micro vehicles. Thanks to the latest technological advances, and the market-leading Sevcon Gen4 controller, it uses far less energy than comparable vehicles. We aim for Zbee to be a global vehicle, the natural choice of transportation in all cities whether it is London, Denpasar or Jakarta.”
With support from the local government in Jakarta, pilot production will begin at PT Lundin Industry in Banyuwangi, East Java, next month, after which additional production facilities are planned for Jakarta.
The Zbee has room for a driver and two passengers and has lap-diagonal seat belts for all three. The battery powering the Zbee recharges in less than two hours from a wall socket. The market potential is estimated to be at least 100,000 vehicles per year.
Earlier this month Sevcon rolled out a DC version of its ground-breaking Gen4 motor controller.
The Gen4 range was launched in 2009 and has since proved to be the leading AC motor controller in the field.