YANGON — Industry Minister U Khin Maung Cho on Friday said the government will allow private companies that partner with it to set up and operate charging stations for electric cars.
“There are electric cars in Yangon, but they can’t be used for long-distance travel. So to solve this problem, we will allow private companies to run charging stations on land owned by the Industry Ministry,” he said at a meeting of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Yangon.
He said there was a growing market for electric cars in Yangon since Japanese automaker Nissan introduced the Leaf to Myanmar some years ago, though owners have complained of a lack of charging stations.
To help, he said, 36 new stations will be built in Yangon, eight along the Yangon-Mandalay Expressway, and five in Naypyitaw, all capable of fully charging a vehicle in under 30 minutes.
The Industry Ministry and Green Power Myanmar signed an agreement in November to manufacture electric vehicles at the Thagara Industrial Zone in Bago Region’s Yedashae Township. The government will lease factory space for the assembly plant but will not invest.
“International governments also support the idea of vehicles powered by electricity. They have less impact on the environment. The [electric car market] will develop more quickly if [the Myanmar] government introduces lower tax rates for electric car importers and manufacturers,” said U Soe Tun, chairman of the Myanmar Automobile Manufacturers and Distributors Association.
According to auto dealers, there are as many as 200 Nissan Leaf owned in Myanmar.
“It is good that there will be charging stations. I now use a household socket and it takes me up to nine hours to charge my car,” said U Zaw Aung, who has been driving a Leaf in Yangon for the past four years.
“At a charging station, the charging time may be an hour maximum with a bigger socket. It will be convenient if there is a charging station every 70 kilometers,” he said.
According to the agreement between the Industry Ministry and Green Power Myanmar, the latter will manufacture 300 long-haul electric buses for Myanmar and 7,000 electric vehicles for export to India, Singapore and Sri Lanka.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.