Mini electric cars can thrive in Vietnam

By Bui Sinh   June 14, 2023 | 08:52 pm PT
Mini electric cars can thrive in Vietnam
VinFast's electric cars used for taxi service in HCMC. Photo by VnExpress/Hoai Phuong
The arrival of the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV and recently the VinFast VF 3 has created a new segment in the Vietnam automobile market: mini electric cars.

These are the smallest cars on the market, much smaller than the i10 and Morning.

It would be reasonable for the electric car revolution to start in Southeast Asia, where people often travel short distances of 50 km or less. The main customers are urban residents who do not have very high technical requirements. For them, a small electric car at an affordable price that needs to be charged every 200-300 km is an ideal choice. They don't need Elon Musk's cars that can run 500-600 km.

Thailand is an example of the success of electric cars in the region. It saw 1,056 of these cars sold in 2020, 1,935 in 2021 and 9,729 last year.

But in the first five months of this year 24,106 electric cars were sold.

In Vietnam, a mini electric car can be popular at four to five times the price of a motorbike, or VND200-250 million (US$8,500-10,600).

And they are certainly safer than motorbikes in cities.

Take Taiwan for example. Electric Gogoro motorcycles are all over the streets there. People use them for their daily commute including going to work, shopping and picking up their children from school. They don't need an SUV or MPV.

If they need a car for a long vacation, they rent one.

*Bui Sinh has worked for many years as a top- and mid-level manager for several car manufacturers in Vietnam.

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