Governments around the Asia region are driving electric-mobility initiatives to reduce reliance on fossil fuel and air pollution.
In Beijing, the government aims to gradually begin replacing the 67,000 petrol-powered taxis on the capital’s roads starting this year.
Meantime, Singapore launched the biggest electric taxi fleet in South East Asia, with the nation’s only electric taxi operator quadrupling its fleet of 30 to 130.
In Vietnam, the Mai Linh Group – one of the largest taxi company in Vietnam announced plans to replace its current fleet of 10,000 petrol-powered taxis with Renault Fluence Z.E electric cars over the course of 5 years.
ASEAN’s Largest Electric Taxi Fleet in the making:
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in 2015 between Renault’s local importer Auto Motors Vietna, and Mai Linh Group to import 10,000 to 20,000 Renault Electric Vehicles within 5 years to replace and expand Mai Linh’s taxi fleet. The Purchase Agreement was signed on April 8, 2016 for the first 100 Renault Fluence Z.E, scheduled to arrive in June 2016. The Mai Linh Group estimated the cost of replacing the existing taxi fleet, importation of the new electric vehicles and the development cost of the electric vehicle charging facilities to be in the region of US$567 million.
What Needs to Happen:
The replacement and electrification project will need the approvals and financial support from several Vietnamese government agencies; Including the Ministries of Finance and Transport, Planning and Investment, Natural Resources and Environment, and Science and Technology. The Mai Linh Group is asking for:
- Decrease or exemption of tariffs on the importing of electric cars, as well as a decrease in value-added tax, special consumption tax, and many other types of taxes and fees related to electric cars.
- Designated land areas within the cities limits to build charging stations and parking lots facilities.
- Project funding from the Government in the form of a 10-year loan with an interest rate of 4% per year.
“It is difficult to carry out this project because the price of an electric taxi is a lot higher than that of a car running on oil, also Vietnam does not yet have the infrastructure for electric cars,” said Ho Huy, chairman of Mai Linh Group.
People familiar with the matter said the Mai Linh and Renault had considered assembling the electric cars in Vietnam, but without the necessary approvals and support from the Vietnamese government agencies, the electric car project will not be financially viable.
Vietnam’s Electric Vehicle Initiative
Mai Linh Group’s project to convert 10,000 petrol powered taxis to electric cars will reduce emissions by 940,000 tons and a savings of 50-60 percent in energy cost over the course of 10 years.
However, the Vietnamese Government has its own direction to reduce emission, saving energy costs and address the mother of all transportation problems in its cities, traffic congestion. It is throwing big bucks into land public transportation infrastructure projects and supporting the usage of plug-in hybrid buses. Joining the dotted lines in this picture and you will see that Mai Linh Group’s proposal is taking a backseat for now and electric taxis may not hit Hanoi, Danang and Ho Chin Minh’s roads anytime soon.