On January 24th, 2024, Thai national media reported an introduction to a pilot project, a 100% electric songthaew or truck taxi, in the development of Chiang Mai University.
Asst. Prof. Anucha Promwungkwa, Ph.D., the Electric Songthaew Project Manager, stated to Thai media that after 8-months of research, it was finally deployed. Asst. Prof. Anucha aimed to study the prototype and further expand the project from piloting two electric songthaews to red taxis in Chiang Mai.
Mr. Borisut Santiwattanaphan, a songthaew driver, told Thai media that after he tried using a modified electric songthaew, formerly a fuel vehicle, it was better than using oil energy in all aspects. The electric songthaew costs less in maintenance and energy. Borisut hoped that soon there would be more electric songthaews in Chiang Mai.
“In Chiang Mai, songthaews are widely used and the pilot project should also apply to red trucks. The project aimed to remodify 100 red taxis into electric vehicles which might take 6 to 8 months to complete the process,” remarked Asst. Prof. Anucha.
“The modified electric songthaews could run 270 kilometers on one charge, usually the services run between 150 to 160 kilometers a day, and cost 0.70 baht per kilometer, normally the fuel would cost 3 baht per one kilometer,” according to Thai media.
“It cost 600,000 baht to remodify a songthaew into an electric vehicle which was considered a high cost. Therefore, the Thai government should have a policy to aid the project as it would reduce PM 2.5 smoke problems and cost less energy,” stated Asst. Prof. Anucha.