Australian firm keen to manufacture electric motorbikes in Samoa

By Adel Fruean 09 June 2019, 10:20PM

An Australian company has expressed interest in opening a factory in Samoa to manufacture electric motorbikes. 

The company Peeq is not a newcomer to Samoa, having built the country's first call center at Vaivase, which is scheduled for opening later this month.

Now it wants to add the manufacturing of electric motorbikes to its investment portfolio, with Peeq Executive Trustee Graham Liao telling Samoa Observer in an interview that they are currently negotiating with the Government.

If the negotiations are successful, Mr Liao said the company will use the old warehouse in Vaitele — that used to house the Yazaki Corporation-owned factory — as its manufacturing plant.

With the company headquartered in Brisbane, he said the short five-hour travel time between Samoa and Australia as well as Samoans grasp of the English language were major factors in the country's favour. 

The company is now looking at a September 2019 start date with the design of the electric motorbike prototype at an advanced stage. Electric motor cars also been discussed by their design team. 

“The motorbike was going to be manufactured in China. But due to easy access from Brisbane I would rather fly five hours to Samoa than 10 hours to China, and also the language barrier in Samoa is easier.

“We are currently completing the final development of our electric motorbike and upon this being completed and certified we hope to commence the manufacturing of the bike in Samoa early September 2019,” he said.

Mr Liao said a unique feature of the electric motorbike is it can be powered by solar energy, when there is no access to electricity. 

"The prices for the motorbikes will range from around from $5,000 upwards, depending on different models and we are also considering selling it in Samoa,” he added. 

The opening of the manufacturing plant would enable the training of Samoans, which would enable the upskilling of the local population according to Mr Liao.

“With that being said we will also train the Samoan people for these skills - I am firm believer in going to the grave as a poor man – part with all the knowledge and wisdom now because if you take it with you – you share nothing," he said.

The Brisbane company's long-term plan is to relocate its headquarters to Samoa including its research and development team, which Mr Liao said the Government supported through the Minister of Communications Information and Technology, Afamasaga Rico Tupai.

“We have a good relationship with the Government and because we are not asking for anything – we stand on our own two feet and that will help Samoa’s Government not have any burdens and the Samoan people will benefit from employment opportunities.

“Samoa is like a micro Singapore waiting to happen and I really believe that," he added. 

Peeq is a diverse group of companies that provide products and services. Founded in Australia in 2013,  it will go under one brand from July this year. 

By Adel Fruean 09 June 2019, 10:20PM

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