Myanmar imports Chinese battery electric vehicles for pilot project

Xinhua, March 7, 2023

Visitors look at a BYD e2 battery electric car imported from China at the Pannita Auto Fair in Yangon, Myanmar, March 2, 2023.(Photo by Myo Kyaw Soe/Xinhua)

Myanmar has imported the first batch of Chinese-made battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in January in implementing its one-year pilot EV project.

"Chinese-made cars are the most-suggested cars for imports. Chinese EVs are largely successful across the globe. Therefore, we are encouraging importing Chinese BEVs," said Myat Mon Thein, a deputy general manager from the Ministry of Industry.

To promote the development of its EV sector, Myanmar established the national-level leading committee on development of electric vehicles and related business in June last year. The country then granted a zero-tariff treatment on imported EVs effective from Nov. 2 last year until March 31 this year.

"Policy for EVs has already been formulated. We will introduce the EV policy in March," Myat Mon Thein said.

"As the tariffs on BEV imports were considerably reduced, people's interests in importing and purchasing BEVs were running high," she told Xinhua.

Visitors look at a BYD Dolphin electric car imported from China at the Pannita Auto Fair in Yangon, Myanmar, March 2, 2023.(Photo by Myo Kyaw Soe/Xinhua)

Myanmar initially allowed the import of about 3,000 BEVs including buses and those to be used as taxis. Of them, 40 cars already arrived in the country in the first batch in January, 25 cars will arrive in March, and more cars will arrive in the near future, Myat Mon Thein said.

Until now, there are eight companies that have obtained permits for importing BEVs in the country, she added.

BYD Motor Myanmar is one of them. The first batch of BEVs imported by Myanmar this year included 40 BYD e2 battery electric cars.

"We imported BYD cars, which have low risks. It is a big brand in China and they are safe," Zaw Win Thu, an automobile salesperson from BYD Motor Myanmar, told Xinhua. "The design and interior features of the cars are also good."

He said that the use of electric cars in the country will increase in long term as the government was making policies in order to import and use electric cars.

The government was providing multiple supports for the EV industry, including helping in building EV charging stations, he said.

According to the Ministry of Industry, Myanmar has so far permitted the installation and construction of more than 140 public EV chargers.

This photo taken on March 2, 2023 shows BYD electric cars at the Pannita Auto Fair in Yangon, Myanmar.(Photo by Myo Kyaw Soe/Xinhua)

Despite the sound development momentum of the EV industry supported by the government's policies, U Zaw Htike Aye, chairperson of Myanmar Automobile Manufacturer and Distributor Association (MAMDA), has highlighted the challenges the industry has been facing.

"For the EV, it is still having difficulties to be overcome due to the current electricity situation," he said, while hailing the government's efforts to build more EV charging stations.

Some automobile importers in Myanmar hope that the use of EVs in the country will increase, citing that fuel prices are likely to be higher in the future.

According to automobile dealers, the market share of Chinese EVs is increasing.

"I am using a Chinese Jetour car right now. I am considering purchasing an EV so that I can cut fuel costs that can be higher in the future," an automobile user in Yangon said.