Electric tuk-tuk innovator MuvMi to triple fleet as demand soarsbackground-defaultbackground-default

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MONDAY, May 29, 2023
Electric tuk-tuk innovator MuvMi to triple fleet as demand soars

Electric tuk-tuk innovator MuvMi to triple fleet as demand soars

FRIDAY, January 13, 2023

Thai startup MuvMi will nearly triple the number of its electric tuk-tuks this year from 350 to 1,000 due to rising demand for rides in vehicles, said the CEO of its parent company, Urban Mobility Tech.

Krisada Kritayakirana, who is also the co-founder of Urban Mobility Tech, told a press conference on Friday that demand for rides in electric tuk-tuks is growing in tandem with the rising popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) in Thailand.

"Our initial goal is to provide environmentally friendly vehicles for city dwellers who struggle to find public transportation after departing skytrain, subway, and bus stations,” he said.

“The majority of our MuvMi customers are working people and university students who take tuk-tuk to and from their homes to shopping malls, offices, restaurants, and universities nearby," he added.

Customers can book an electric tuk-tuk through the MuvMi app for 10 baht, with the price rising in tandem with travel time and distance.

Krisada said the company would increase the number of electric tuk-tuks in the first half of this year, while the second half would focus on expanding service to cover all of Bangkok and other major cities, such as Chaing Mai, and the resort island of Phuket.

"We are currently available in 12 main areas in downtown Bangkok, including Sukhumvit, Chulalongkorn University, Samyan, Silom-Sathorn, Ratchada-Rama 9, and Chidlom-Lumpini," he said.

The company's strength is the technology it invented and developed, Krisada said.

Krisada Kritayakirana

Krisada said the company owns the designs of the electric tuk-tuk body and the EV charging points using solar energy. Both designs are protected by patents, he said. Artificial intelligence is also used to control the current to achieve a long-term competitive advantage, Krisada said.

He said the company’s expansion plan would cost between 600 million and 700 million baht. As the company is a startup business, some funding will be from venture capital and partners.

"We expect to expand both domestically and internationally as a 100% Thai EV ride-sharing service with its own EVs and platform. We are committed to further developing our technology, " he said.

MuvMi has had about 3.7 million passengers since its inception in 2018. However, as demand increased and some customers complained about long wait times, Krisada said the company decided it was time to expand.

Electric tuk-tuk innovator MuvMi to triple fleet as demand soars

Urban Mobility Tech is a success story for Thailand's National Innovation Agency, which helped launch the company in 2016. It took nearly two years to develop and manufacture its electric tuk-tuk before launching the service five years ago.

According to Vichian Suksoir, deputy executive director at the National Innovation Agency’s Innovation Development, the agency wants MuvMi to be a role model for other Thai EV startups and related businesses, such as EV charging stations.

They can seek support from the agency, he said.

EV and related technology will be one of the six key sectors the agency will allocate funding to this year, Vichian said.

"This year, we allocated 100 million baht to support EV and EV-related technology. Interested startups must submit a business plan for our consideration. We plan to award 10-15 startup grants this year," he said.

The National Innovation Agency’s strategy coincides with the government's efforts to propel the growth in the digital economy. The EV industry is contributing to the effort. Currently, the Thai government is implementing a number of measures to attract investment from both foreign and domestic investors. At the same time, it is implementing measures to increase demand for EVs in the country.

According to TTB Analytics, Thailand's EV industry continues to surge in both production and demand. The number of new EV registrations at the Department of Land Transport was 15,423 during the first 10 months of last year. The total number of EV registrations in the previous decade (2012 - 2021) was 11,749.