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Are Electric Cars Coming to Vietnam?

As urban Vietnam makes a push toward cars and away from motorbikes, could electric vehicles be on the horizon?

According to VietnamNet, foreign investors are toying with the idea of introducing electric cars to the Vietnamese market. In fact, last year Taiwanese company SYM announced plans to start selling its tiny electric vehicle to local consumers. However, a lack of infrastructure such as charging stations could pose problems for potential electric car owners.

Still, it seems the gas-free vehicles will be making their Vietnam debut somewhere down the line. Thanh Hoa province officials recently signed a memorandum of understanding with American firm DiMora Enterprises, LLC to construct the country’s first electric car factory, reports VietnamNet. The factory, to be located in Thanh Hoa’s Nghi Son Economic Zone, is expected to produce up to 10,000 five- to seven-seater electric vehicles per year in its first phase. By phase two, the factory will produce as many as 50,000 vehicles a year.

Meanwhile, Japanese car maker Mitsubishi is also eyeing the possibility of electric vehicles on the Vietnamese market. The company’s CEO recently met with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to discuss the matter, the news outlet reports.

This year’s Vietnam Motor Show indicated a possible shift toward electric vehicles as well. During the event, which ran from August 1-5, American auto firm Chevrolet showcased its electric vehicle, the Bolt EV, according to Thanh Nien. Though the vehicle is not on sale in Vietnam, Chevrolet Vietnam told the news outlet it was on display to gauge consumer interest.

As automakers gear up to begin electric vehicle production in Vietnam, the question remains whether Vietnamese drivers will get on board with the electric car craze, and whether the country will be able to provide the necessary infrastructure to welcome such vehicles to its roads. Urban areas, at least, are likely to get more charging stations, as taxi firm Mai Linh announced its own plan in late 2015 to replace its fleet with up to 20,000 electric vehicles.

[Photo via Renault]

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