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Taiwan Looks For Pioneering Role in Electric Vehicle Development

Innovative brands and a conducive tax regime see Taiwan racing ahead in the highly competitive green scooter industry.

Photo: Gogoro: Taiwan’s green scooter brand looks to conquer Europe. (Xinhua News Agency)
Gogoro: Taiwan's green scooter brand looks to conquer Europe.
Photo: Gogoro: Taiwan’s green scooter brand looks to conquer Europe. (Xinhua News Agency)
Gogoro: Taiwan's green scooter brand looks to conquer Europe.

With the global market for electric vehicles (EVs) having enjoyed sustained growth over recent years, Taiwan is looking to position itself as a key player within this environmentally friendly sector. This has seen the territory look to take on the likes of mainland China, Europe and the US in the race for technological supremacy in the world of green motoring.

In line with its commitment to energy conservation and carbon-emissions reduction, the Taiwanese government has adopted a Smart EV Development Strategy and Action Plan. This offers a number of subsidies and incentives for EV users and has resulted in the recent announcement that all purchases of such vehicles will be exempt from the Commodity Tax until 2021.

Under the terms of the December 2016 announcement, any purchase of an EV (including small passenger cars, motorcycles, public buses and taxis) will be exempt from the Commodities Tax, subject to the completion of the relevant registration requirement, for the next five years. It is hoped that this move, along with the other existing incentives, will spur the purchase of EVs, expand the market, maximise energy conservation and reduce carbon emissions.

This latest move follows an earlier three-year exemption from the Commodity Tax for EVs introduced in January 2011. This was later extended to January 2017.

According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, this latest five-year extension is expected to increase the sales of electric cars by 5,939 units, while an additional 150,000 electric motorcycles are also expected to be sold. Despite the loss of Commodity Tax revenue on such sales, the government is optimistic that higher business-tax returns, among others, will more than make up for any shortfall. Over the same period, the industrial output value of all EV sales is also expected total around NT$94.399 billion (US$3 billion).

At present, a number of Taiwan’s EV brands are already finding success in the international market. Perhaps foremost among these is Gogoro, the Taipei-based electric-scooter manufacturer, which has also established a domestic recharging network. The company has already made inroads into the European market, with its scooters now available for rental in Germany.

Despite only being available in Greater Taipei, Taoyuan and Hsinchu, the company’s domestic sales are also showing a marked increase. In the Taipei-Xinbei (New Taipei)-Taoyuan region, for instance, its EVs command an 8.3% share of the market. In Taipei, the figure is even higher, with 10.8% of all scooters manufactured by Gogoro.

The company’s success, however, is said to be not just down to government incentives and the growing environmental awareness of the local population. The brand is also said to score highly with both the stylish design of its scooters and its commitment to continual technical upgrades, particularly with regard to extending battery life.

Tammy Hsieh, Taiwan Office

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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