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Phuket Business: Go green, go electric

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Business: Go green, go electric | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: A new transportation option recently made its debut in Phuket. You don’t have to fill it up out of old whiskey bottles on the side of the road or break a sweat pedaling up the island’s steep hills. All you have to do is plug it in before you go to sleep at night.

Electric bikes have undoubtedly been around for quite a while, since the late 1800s in fact. However, an appreciable selection has not been widely available in Phuket, that is until the recent opening of Phuket Green Bike in Nai Harn.

Owner of Phuket Green Bike, Josef Memmel said, “In China there are more motorbikes and scooters on the road than in Thailand but it’s 95% electric.” Inspired by the proliferation of electric bikes in China, Memmel was compelled to promote them here in Phuket where he believes them to be a practical alternative to gasoline powered scooters and motorbikes.

Phuket Green Bike is currently stocking seven different models of electric bikes including a more conventional looking hybrid bike and a smaller scooter-like bike that could be marketed towards the “Hello Kitty” contingent. “The big difference is weight, the lithium batteries are much less weight [than lead-acid]”, says Memmel.

Battery choice is an important consideration as lead-acid batteries are generally heavier, cheaper and have a shorter usable life compared to lithium ion batteries.

The cost of the bicycles themselves is fairly affordable but because they are categorized as a motorized vehicle rather than a bicycle by Thai customs, they are subject to higher import tariffs – a matter which Memmel is attempting to tend to. The more inexpensive versions start at 24,000 baht which is less than most gasoline scooters.

Caring for the bikes is easy says Memmel,”The only maintenance you need is tyres, brakes and lights. There is no gear box, no motor and no chain drive.” The life of the batteries is finite but they do come with a warranty; details of which are outlined on the Phuket Green Bike website (see below).

For those interested in a more conventional size and design like a gasoline scooter, Phuket Green Bike will soon have one in stock. Looking very much like a Honda PCX and sharing a similar price tag, Memmel reports that, “It has the ability to go 100km per hour and you can go 100 to 120km before recharging… It will take five to six hours to recharge.”

Electric vehicles are known for their smooth operation with little vibration which is definitely a plus. However, the silent operation of a scooter can be seen from two standpoints: one being the “loud pipes save lives” philosophy, and the other embracing the sounds of nature and the rushing wind.

Another distinct advantage of electric vehicles is the absence of on-the-road emissions. Large power-plants are far more efficient than small vehicles at producing energy and centralizing the point of pollution rather than spewing it throughout cities and towns.

Phuket Green Bikes offers up the option of buying or renting and discounts are given to long-term rentals.

To learn more about electric bikes visit phuketgreenbike.webs.com or call 091 647-6216

— Jeremie Schatz

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO | The Thaiger

“The rules signal greater willingness by countries around the world to rein in big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter that the governments fear have become too powerful with little accountability.”

India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social.

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The companies are also being made to publish a compliance report each month with details about how many complaints they’ve received and the action they took.

They’ll also be required to remove ‘some’ types of content including “full or partial nudity,” any “sexual act” or “impersonations including morphed images”

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told.

The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

Continue Reading

Business

Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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