Ho Chi Minh City will launch an electric car tourist service in the downtown area on a pilot basis in April, according to the local Department of Transport.
The department has said that 10 eight-seat electric cars will be deployed for this service in its initial stage.
The cars will carry visitors to the city’s major tourist attractions in the downtown area, including Ben Thanh Market, the Municipal Theater, People’s Court Mansion, Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral, Saigon Central Post Office, Reunification Palace, and Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens.
The specific route is as follows: 23/9 Park-Nguyen Trai-Le Lai-Ben Thanh Station (in front of Ben Thanh Market)-Le Loi-Hai Ba Trung-Le Duan-Nguyen Binh Khiem-Nguyen Thi Minh Khai-Mac Dinh Chi-Le Duan-Pasteur-Vo Van Tan-Le Quy Don-Nguyen Thi Minh Khai-Nam Ky Khoi Nghia-Le Thanh Ton-Phan Chu Trinh-Tran Hung Dao-Pham Ngu Lao-23/9 Park.
The cars, to start running on a pilot basis on April 30, will operate from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm every day, with intervals of 30 minutes.
The maximum speed is expected to be less than 40km per hour and a car can travel 100 kilometers once fully charged.
Tickets cost VND20,000 (US$0.9) apiece and will be on sale at 23/9 Park in District 1.
Groups of tourists can also hire the cars in three-hour packages costing VND600,000 ($28) each.
The model of tourist electric cars has earlier been adopted in four other places in Vietnam, namely Hanoi, Sam Son Town in northern Thanh Hoa Province, Dong Hoi City in central Quang Binh Province, and Cua Lo Town in central Nghe An Province.
Vietnamplus, an affiliate of the Vietnam News Agency, cited Deputy Transport Minister Le Dinh Tho as saying at a November meeting that the use of electric cars has boosted tourism and helped curb the number of motorbikes and cyclos – bicycle taxis that are a sort of pedicab having one or two passengers in a seat in the front and the driver pedaling in the rear – in use at tourist attractions.
Hanoi, which is the country’s first city to pilot electric cars in its Old Quarter and around Tay Lake, has seen an enthusiastic embrace among locals and tourists since launching the service three years ago.
The electric cars have transported more than 1.2 million visitors and generated over VND20.4 billion ($950,694) in revenue. Tho added the electric cars are also of great benefit regarding energy conservation, considerable drops in noise and air pollution, and nurturing the habit of walking and using public transport.
The small-sized vehicles which attain speeds of less than 40km per hour are just perfect for urban traffic and help preserve the architecture and milieu of Hanoi’s Old Quarter.
Such improvements as environmental protection, traffic safety, and job provision have been seen in Sam Son, Cua Lo, and Dong Hoi.
According to the Ministry of Transport’s statistics released in November last year, the four above-mentioned places currently boast a total of 621 electric cars, including 50 in Hanoi.