Vietnam is facing the challenge that charging infrastructure is not keeping pace with the strong sales of electric vehicles (EVs). VinFast, the only manufacturer with a charging infrastructure in place so far, has no intention of sharing it with competitors in the next decade. In contrast, EV charging startup EBOOST plans to build a network of EV charging stations that can charge any brand of vehicle.
Charging infrastructure is not keeping pace with strong EV sales
CNBC reported that the electric vehicle market in Vietnam will have strong growth in the next 10 years. A report by BMI Research and Fitch Solutions predicts that electric vehicle sales in Vietnam will explode at least twice this year.
However, the charging station, which is the essential infrastructure for electric vehicles to come into operation, receives less attention.
BMI Research points out that the electric vehicle charging system in Vietnam could limit the growth of this market. Most of the current charging networks are mainly for 2-wheel electric vehicles, so BMI expects more businesses to enter this market to promote it.
Currently, Vinfast has invested methodically in a system of charging stations with more than 150,000 charging ports for electric motorcycles and electric cars, spreading across 63 provinces and cities in Vietnam, with a total investment of about 500-700 million USD.
Another car company that intends to enter the electric vehicle market is Audi Vietnam. Although they have confirmed that a convenient and fast charging network is a key element of a comprehensive electric vehicle ecosystem, they have only recently installed it in some agents in Ho Chi Minh City.
That means that electric car users of this brand will be very inconvenienced if they leave Ho Chi Minh City. Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz Vietnam said that the company will install charging stations at genuine distribution systems across the country and plan to expand the charging network for customers at 5-star hotels and resorts nationwide. However, everything is still a plan.
EBOOST plans to build a network of EV charging stations that can charge any brand of vehicle
According to CNBC, EBOOST, a startup company focused on developing charging infrastructure in Vietnam, plans to expand its charging network nationwide. In particular, the charging infrastructure the company is building will benefit competitors by eliminating Binh Fast's advantage, as it can charge any brand of vehicle.
EBOOST is part of Evida, a company established in 2019 to provide smart charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and electric motorcycles in the Vietnamese market. The company's charging network is operated by a fully digitalized system.
Elsewhere, Taiwan's Foxconn announced plans to invest US$250 million to build a factory to manufacture EV charging equipment and related components in the northern province of Quang Ninh. EVN, the General Electricity Authority of Vietnam, also announced its entry into the EV charging market by unveiling its first domestically manufactured charging station.
Challenges in spreading EV charging infrastructure
One challenge will be the inadequacy of Vietnam's electricity supply system. It is necessary to develop a stable power supply system that can handle a large number of EVs charging at the same time and rapid loads from quick chargers. The lack of policies to encourage and support the development of public charging infrastructure should also be taken into account.
Moreover, while the construction of charging stations requires huge investments, there is no perfect business model for earning profits; even though EV sales are growing, the thin profit margins from the operation of charging infrastructure make it difficult to generate motivation to invest in this area.