Vietnam launches electric motorcycle program in cooperation with Japan

Posted at: TUEsday - 09/04/2013 08:53 - post name: Nguyễn Mai Nhiệm
In a bid to promote the environmental effects of electric-powered vehicles, Vietnam’s Energy Conservation Center (ECC) – working under the government’s Department of Science and Technology in Ho Chi Minh City – has partnered with Japanese manufacturers to produce cheap, energy-saving electric motorcycles in Vietnam. Motorcycles are still one of the most popular ways to get around in Vietnam, and the government is hoping to lower energy consumption as well as the pollution levels caused by traditional gas-powered motorcycles with this partnership.

The project was given a green light by the government after a six-month experimental period, which showed that the program might just be feasible. The electric motorcycles also showed that usage would amount to a 90 percent reduction in energy consumption, a goal that looks very promising for the Vietnamese government. And so the ECC chose to work with Japanese partners Mitsubishi, Terra Motors and Myclimate Japan to move the program forward. The push towards electric motorcycles will also be a boon to employment in the country, as the vehicles would be manufactured in the country in a factory in the Mekong Delta, within the province of Long An. The factory is said to have the output capability of making 1,000 vehicles a month, and the motorcycles are expected to come to stores in Vietnam as early as September.

The main challenge for the government, however, is to convince the motorcycle-loving population of Vietnam to change to electric-powered models. For years now, Vietnamese customers have been indifferent towards cheap Chinese-made electric motorbikes that have been available in the market for a while now. These new models that the program will put out are not as cheap as the Chinese-made ones, initially costing around VND15 million ($719.50). But the ECC is convinced of the positive results the project can bring. Research from both countries have shown that gasoline motorbikes consume a lot more energy per kilometer and pollute the environment more than the electric motorcycles. This for them is a very fair trade-off, adding that users of an electric motorcycle can actually save more than US$210 a year compared to using a gas-powered model. For this project, the ECC is looking to the Vietnamese media for help in convincing the people of the benefits of electric motorcycles. The ECC will also distribute 1,000 vehicles to various government employees to encourage more people in Ho Chi Minh City to use switch to electric motorbikes.

Author: via SGGP
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