Once you arrive in urban Hanoi, the city’s love affair with motorbikes is obvious.
These vehicles dominate the streets and are part of the everyday scenery in the Vietnamese capital. For many, traveling by bike is faster and, not to mention, cheaper. Jane Sit reports on CNN.
There are nearly six million motorbikes in this city of around eight million people — compared with around 700,000 cars.
They carry everything — from people to wares — and it’s common to see goods stacked upon goods on top of motorbikes zipping down roads.
Visitors and locals alike can also move around by motorbike with ride-hailing apps such as GrabBike for on-demand service.
But while these road warriors might be Hanoi’s main means of transportation, the government plans to ban motorbikes in downtown areas by 2030 in an effort to ease pollution and congestion in the city.
The hope is more locals will switch to using Hanoi’s public transportation network — a system which the government is working to overhaul.
Taking an environmental spin
One company is hoping to introduce a greener solution for the city, while helping it maintain its famously dynamic streetscape.
VinFast — the automotive arm of Vietnam’s largest conglomerate, Vingroup — launched its first electric scooter, Klara, in 2018.
According to VinFast, their electric scooter emits less exhaust gases and pollutants — creating a more environmental solution for drivers.
“At the moment, the gasoline motorbikes are very popular in Vietnam,” says Vo Quang Hue, the deputy CEO of Vingroup.
“However, I believe that the e-scooters will gradually be accepted by customers — thanks to its environmental friendliness and noise-free operation in the city.”
Klara can travel up to 90 kilometers (56 miles) per charge with a maximum speed of 50 kilometers an hour.
It is also a smart scooter, equipped with GPS and Bluetooth, and can be connected to a smartphone. Drivers can also charge the motorbike’s batteries at any of the thousands of Vingroup-owned convenience stores and supermarkets — called VinMart — in the city.
“Since the launch of [Klara], thousands have been sold to customers,” Vo tells CNN. “We think that introducing electric motorbikes into the market is very meaningful, in making a better life for Vietnamese people.”
By Jane Sit @ CNN