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Jan 15, 2018 / 23:08

Vietnam to cooperate with Mitsubishi Motors in developing electric vehicles

That said, the Ministry of Industry & Trade has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mitsubishi Motors in developing electric vehicles suitable with the current transport infrastructure of Vietnam and available charging station.

Vietnam is looking for partner in joint-effort of developing the country’s auto industry, while the Japanese company hopes to gain a slice of the nation's market for environmentally friendly vehicles with high potential for development in the future.

Prior to the study, Mitsubishi will provide Vietnam with the Outlander plug-in hybrid vehicle (Outlander PHEV). In Vietnam, electric and hybrid vehicles are rare. But since the country has a 200-plus-volt system, it is easy to charge the vehicles at home, according to both the government and Mitsubishi. 

Because of Vietnam's narrow roads, the government has high hope for Mitsubishi Motors' compact electric vehicles, such as the i-MiEV.

Vietnam aims to become a leading industrial nation by 2020, with the auto industry slated to be one of its main pillars. However, new auto sales fell by 10% over the last year’s figure to 272,750 units in 2017 from a record 300,000 units in 2016.

The sharp drop was attributed to the abolition of import tariffs in January 2018.

Vietnam's appetite for cars is growing as its middle class class expands. But the increase in air pollution from cars and coal-fired thermal power stations is forcing the government to pin its hopes on electric vehicles, which cause less environmental damage.

Following the agreement between Vietnamese authority and Mitsubishi Motors, the two will jointly study electric vehicles deemed suitable for Vietnamese roads, traffic conditions and available charging infrastructure.

Vietnam Electricity recently opened the first charging station in the central Vietnamese city of Da Nang. Vingroup JSC, the country's leading real estate company, which has been working to produce the first national vehicle, is also developing an electric vehicle.

But the wealthy and the middle class are buying more cars. The Ministry of Industry and Trade expects new auto sales to more than double to 600,000 units annually in 2025.

Other vehicles, such as the country's 40 million motorcycles, are making Vietnam's air pollution worse. The government is rushing to construct coal-fired thermal power stations to cope with chronic electricity shortages expected in the near future. As a result, concerns about air pollution are getting worse.

In dealing with air pollution and the global warming, electric vehicles are eco-friendly as they run on electrically powered engines, It does not emit toxic gases or smoke in the environment as it runs on clean energy sources. They are even better than hybrid cars as hybrids running on gas produce emission. 

In 2016, there were around 2 million electric vehicles, it is estimated that by 2030, the number of electric vehicles will be increased to 140 million, according to estimation from International Energy Agency (IEA). In Europe, the campaign of replacing gas vehicle with eco-friendly vehicles is widely promoted among countries.