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VinFast sparks electric car race for Vietnam market

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The first VinFast VF e34 electric cars are ready to roll off the production line at VinFast’s Hai Phong factory in northeastern Vietnam. VINFAST

VinFast sparks electric car race for Vietnam market

The electric-car race is only just beginning in Vietnam and VinFast have taken an early lead. Late last week they officially handed over the first batch of VFe34 electric automobiles to clients, the first electric cars to hit the road in the country.

The event marks the beginning of the electric car era in Vietnam, making the country one of the few in the world that has mastered clean energy car production technology. The first batch of 100 cars was handed over on December 25. Another 2,000 will be sold next month.

The event has also sparked a race between local and foreign carmakers. The Japanese car firm Toyota made a surprise announcement that they will begin selling e-cars in Vietnam next year too.

Toyota Global president and CEO Akio Toyoda said the Japanese automaker will start production of The Toyota bZ series (“beyond Zero”), a family of battery electric vehicles (BEV). The all-new bZ series goes beyond zero emissions to transform lives and experiences.

Toyota is expected to launch three models of the bZ series next year, including in Vietnam. Toyota’s Motomachi car factory is manufacturing the bZ4X model and will soon expand to other bZ models.

Volkswagen Vietnam Automobile Co Ltd director-general Do Nguyen Vuong had said his company plans to sell e-cars in Vietnam but were waiting for more supporting infrastructure first. After Toyota announced that they would be selling e-cars in the country, Volkswagen decided to speed up its planned launch too.

Thaco Automobile director-general Nguyen Quang Bao said the Sorento 7-Seater SUV of All-New Kia Sorento Hybrid will be sold in March.

Another hybrid model, the Kia Sportage, will also go on sale in June. In particular, the Kia EV6, the company’s first all-electric car with super-fast charging battery technology, is also expected to go on sale in the second quarter.

A representative of Nissan Vietnam also announced that his company has prepared a strategic plan to develop electric cars that will soon launch in the country.

Mitsubishi have already displayed its electric cars at a car show in Vietnam two years ago and will sell e-cars in the country, after retailing this model elsewhere in the region.

Toyota Global’s Toyoda acknowledged that pure electric vehicles were one of the most promising means of transport of the future.

Toyota plans to expand the production of carbon-neutral vehicles. By 2030, Toyota aims to have 30 pure electric passenger and commercial cars.

A representative of the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (Vama) said that, because the price of electric vehicles is still quite high and the infrastructure has not been fully invested, it is a struggle to attract consumers. However, the fact that so many car makers are launching electric cars creates more competition and choice for consumers.

To attract customers to electric cars, it is necessary to have a preferential policy to invest in battery charging stations, and cut or exempt fees and taxes to lower prices, said the representative.

Volkswagen’s Vuong said the German automaker was expected to sell its electric SUV cars at a price of 1.8 billion dong ($78,700) and 1.3 billion dong for sedan models in Vietnam.

Vuong said that if Vietnam offered a preferential policy for electric cars, the price could be lower and become more attractive to consumers.



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