With the annual consumption of electric bicycles and motorbikes totally outnumbered by that of gas motorcycles, it is safe to say that there is a lot of room for enterprises to set their foot in the electric vehicle manufacturing industry.
After using an electric motorbike for daily commute for one year, Mai Hoang Yen, a resident in Ho Chi Minh City’s Go Vap District, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that she has totally become a fan of this means of transport.
According to Yen, electric motorbikes have several advantages over gas motorcycles, as they are lightweight, a huge perk to female users, and have noiseless operation, no smell of fuel and no emission.
On the other hand, it is undeniable that the traveling range of up to 100 kilometers per charge is a big drawback of electric motorbikes.
“It takes up to seven hours for a full charge of electric motorbikes, while one person only needs to spend two minutes at a gas pump filling up a motorbike and can travel a double distance,” Yen said.
According to Doan Linh, CEO of Pega, an electric bike manufacturer, Vietnam is currently ‘slower’ than other countries in the world in terms of electric motorbike development.
Vietnamese people consumed 400,000 electric vehicles in 2017, compared to three million motorbikes sold in the same year, Linh said, citing data by Vietnam Register, a non-profit state body that provides supervision and certification for quality and safety of different means of transport.
“If each electric motorbike is priced at VND30 million [$1,290], this market is worth VND90 trillion [$3.87 billion] a year,” Linh told Tuoi Tre, implying that e-vehicle manufacturers are wasting the opportunity to grab a share of this lucrative market.
The Pega executive added that while the potential of the electric vehicle market is huge, Vietnamese enterprises have not paid decent attention to investment in this industry in recent years.
One of the major reasons for this situation, according to industry experts, is that 90 percent of electric bicycles and motorcycles in Vietnam used to be imported, and even smuggled, from other countries, which sparked concerns about their quality and safety.
However, there has been a change in customers’ mindset on electric vehicles in recent years, with poor-quality and cheap products no longer welcomed in the market, replaced by products from prominent manufacturers such as Anbico, Pega, DKBike, SYM, and KYMCO.
Especially, a new player, VinFast, a unit of Vietnam’s leading conglomerate Vingroup, is completing the final procedures to officially debut in the electric vehicle market by the end of 2019.
According to Dr. Nguyen Quang Tuan, deputy director at the Institute of Transport Science and Technology, VinFast electric motorbikes will apply a number of new technologies, including Bluetooth and Internet connection, GPS (Global Positioning System) and radio frequency (RF) for information exchange.
The participation of VinFast, according to Doan Linh of Pega, will help other players in the market to receive more support from consumers, which in the long term will boost the domestic electric vehicle sector.