Japan-based Terra Motors – the company that develops, manufactures, and sells electric scooters and tuk-tuks – announced today that it has secured a US$10 million funding round led by Mizuho Capital. Other investors in this round are US-based Fenox VC1, Shinsei Bank, SMBC Venture Capital, and Aizawa Securities. The goal of this investment is to finance Terra Motors’ Asia operations, where the company aims to achieve 100,000 sales by 2015.
Terra Motors has established affiliated firms in Vietnam and in the Philippines. The startup will enhance production of its A4000i escooter in Vietnam while focusing sales of its electric three-wheeler in the Philippines. This year, the team will expand to India and Bangladesh, with other Asian countries like Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand being on the company’s roadmap in the next few years. Earlier this year, Terra Motors tested the waters in India by launching its flagship electric bike with a $29,000 price-tag.
Terra Motors CEO Toru Tokushige explains that although electric vehicles are more commonly found in Europe and the US, the future of electric two and three wheelers is in Asia. “More than 30 million units of electric two wheelers were sold in China in 2013, and hundreds of thousands of electric three wheelers have already been sold in India and in Bangladesh because of the high price of gasoline. Therefore, we need to focus on Asian markets,” says Tokushige.
Tesla Motors is the big guy in the electric automotive industry. Terra Motors wants to position itself as the Tesla of Asia – at least on two or three wheels. Tokushige explains, “In addition, our long-term goal is to create a company with rapid growth, beyond the growth of Samsung and Apple.”