Myanmar, in a significant move, imported its first batch of Chinese-made Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) in January, marking the initiation of a one-year pilot EV project. Myat Mon Thein, Deputy General Manager from the Ministry of Industry, expressed confidence in Chinese-made cars, citing their global success and preference in the import recommendations.

National-Level Committee and Tariff Incentives

To propel the growth of the EV sector, Myanmar established a national-level leading committee dedicated to developing electric vehicles and related businesses in June of the previous year. To incentivize EV adoption, the country granted a zero-tariff treatment on imported EVs, effective from November 2 last year until March 31 this year.

Formulation of EV Policy and Import Numbers

Myat Mon Thein revealed that the policy for EVs had already been formulated, with plans to introduce it in March. With significantly reduced tariffs on BEV imports, there has been a surge in interest among the public in importing and purchasing BEVs.

Myanmar initially permitted the import of approximately 3,000 BEVs, encompassing buses and vehicles designated for use as taxis. The first batch, consisting of 40 cars, arrived in January, with 25 expected in March and more to follow.

Key Players and Brand Selections

Eight companies have obtained permits for importing BEVs, including BYD Motor Myanmar. The first batch of BEVs included 40 BYD e2 battery electric cars. Zaw Win Thu, an automobile salesperson from BYD Motor Myanmar, emphasized the low risks associated with BYD cars, citing the brand's prominence in China and the perceived safety of their vehicles. He also highlighted positive features of the car's design and interior.

Government Support and Industry Challenges

The Myanmar government is actively supporting the EV industry by facilitating the construction of EV charging stations. Over 140 public EV chargers have been permitted by the Ministry of Industry.

Despite this support, U Zaw Htike Aye, Chairperson of the Myanmar Automobile Manufacturer and Distributor Association (MAMDA), pointed out persistent challenges.

He noted that the current electricity situation poses difficulties for EV adoption but acknowledged the government's efforts to address this by constructing more charging stations.

Public Perception and Future Prospects

Some automobile users in Myanmar are optimistic about the increasing use of EVs, especially in light of potential future increases in fuel prices. Chinese EVs, in particular, are gaining market share, with users considering them as a cost-effective and sustainable alternative.

As one automobile user in Yangon mentioned, owning an EV becomes an attractive prospect for cutting fuel costs, particularly with the anticipation of higher fuel prices in the future.