A marriage between an iphone and an electric motorbike

Terra Motors, a Japanese electric motorcycle manufacturer, is aiming to combat Vietnam’s two worst problems – air pollution and traffic congestion – by combining the country’s two favorite commodities – motorbikes and smartphones. Terra Motors is hoping to convince the Vietnamese that their latest model, the A4000i, is as much of a status symbol as an Attila or a Yamaha Nuovo.

Their biggest draw will be the iPhone-operated dashboard to monitor your location, battery, and electricity usage. The A4000i is said to be “the world’s first wireless, smartphone-connected e-scooter installed,” where driving information will be transmitted through an iPhone. Information about the battery and power consumption, mileage, and speed will be displayed onscreen using an iPhone 3G up to the newest iPhone 5 model. The biggest problem with this, of course, is that someone’s going to try to steal your iPhone right out of your dash. Not to mention your expensive motorbike as well. Now, before you brush it off as another hokey Chinese e-bike, keep in mind that Terra is claiming its electric motorbike will take you 65 kilometers before the battery runs out, and the battery only has to be replaced every 50,000 kilometers.

The motorbike can run on a lithium battery that can last five times longer than standard batteries as compared to other electric bikes. It also claims cost-effectiveness besides being environmental friendly. To top it all off, Terra’s going to allow other companies to build apps on top of its platform, so it’s foreseeable that it can work on the traffic problem as well. The company has opened a factory just outside the city and is looking to ship 100,000 electric motorbikes into Vietnam by the end of 2015. And the price on those bikes, you ask? Around USD4,000. That’s right, it’s a luxury item. After 2015, Terra is working on releasing an even cheaper and better mileage motorbike that will address a bigger market after the A4000i is established. This is very similar to Tesla Motors’ strategy of offering the fancy Roadster and then working on cheaper sedans for the mass market. In the end, if Terra succeeds in pulling this off in Vietnam, we’ll start to see less pollution in the streets, and that’ll be good for everybody.

Anh-Minh Do is the editor at TechInAsia.com for Vietnam focusing on technology startups, trends and companies. Minh also organizes events at Evecoo.vn