Friday Notes: MOPO & The Green Trail

In this episode (FN.010): The discussion about MOPO, the leading company in the movement of green energy and The Green Trail, the first-ever long-distance road rally race performed exclusively by electric motor-scooters to spread the message of fighting pollution. 

The Green Trail is an epic rally race organized by MOPO to promote the use of green energy.

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Below is a transcript of the episode, edited for readability.

Listen to the full episode at links below.

Granger: Good morning. It’s Friday morning, the day after Halloween. I’m barely moving this morning. How was your Halloween, Cam? 

Cameron: It was so good. I’m now looking forward to Thanksgiving. 

Granger: Did you like the party? 

Cameron: The party was great, but I’m a minimalist when it comes to Halloween costumes. That’s why I went as Harry Potter. 

Granger: But you looked good as Harry Potter. 

Cameron: I just walk down the street and people are like: “Oh look, it’s Harry!”

Granger: I love Halloween because my birthday is on the day before Halloween. 

Cameron: Happy birthday! I was there, of course. 

Granger: It’s a whole week of celebration in my world, I’m quite happy about it. Thanks for your lovely gift. 

Cameron: And everyone at the office also gave you lovely presents.

Granger: I love the cupcakes and the little candles. 

Cameron: Your no-carb diet went a little bit away that day. 

Granger: I got to go back on that diet. I lost 20 pounds and then gained back eight. On a serious note, we were talking about pollution on Monday and today, we’re going to talk about a company in Vietnam called MOPO – mobile power, and an event called The Green Trail coming up in December that they are sponsoring.

Overview of MOPO

Granger: MOPO comes from a company called Powercentric. We’ve mentioned it before, MOPO was given $1 million by Shark (Pham Thanh) Hung on Shark Tank. Nguyen Ngoc Minh, the young CEO who grew up here, went to the States and came back after 25 years, started this company as a solar company and then a battery company. Now they make a lightweight rechargeable lithium battery that can be used at charging stations for E-scooters. It can be used as backup generators, emergency batteries for disaster recovery. They’re stackable, which is really cool. You can have backup power for your entire house so you can run your refrigerator, air conditioner, your TV, your fan off of it. There are lots of uses for it. This is a company that is leading the way in Vietnam. It’s the only battery manufacturer in Vietnam that makes lithium batteries. 

Cameron: It’s amazing. If you have a server farm with servers that can not go down, you can have these batteries instead of a diesel generator outside of your building. 

Granger: When those diesel generators kick in, they’re so loud and smelly. They blow all that pollution in the air, which ends up rain down on Saigon. And this backup battery generation system is also solar-powered. You can go to mopolife.com to see a little bit about MOPO and understand what we’re talking about. They have the ability to install solar for commercial or residential. I was interviewing Ben (Minh) about a solar battery backup for cell towers and for other remote access uses for telecommunications, which is a phenomenal use of his product. If you’re in Cambodia, Myanmar or Vietnam, you’re out in the middle of the countries, you don’t have power infrastructure. 

Cameron: I can assure you so. Generally, when I was traveling around, I would have a 20,000 mAh. That would enable my phone of 10 charges. It’s not the best situation, but if I had one of these batteries, I could charge my drone, my phone. It could run a TV. 

Granger: He also has an inverter that goes with his battery, which is really cool. So you can run your laptop, your phones and all of your equipment off of it. Some lights when you’re out in your tent. If you have a boat and you want to cruise around and go fishing, you can use the batteries. There’s a lot of uses. 

Cameron: It’s amazing. I’m a huge tech nerd. I’ve always had to carry two battery packs with me. So, when I find a product like this, I only need to bring one of these and I’m assured.

Granger: It doesn’t charge your phone once or twice. It will charge your laptop and your other things for days. That’s great if you go hiking, or go out in the wilderness, or go anywhere. That’s another use of it. 

Cameron: I’ve always wanted to play video games on top of a mountain. And now, I can… It’s freedom. 

Granger: We’ve talked about other types of power, we’ve talked about battery generation and reusable lithium batteries, so, we’re helping the environment. It’s not the ultimate green solution, but it’s a big solution that can help out this country and reduce environmental footprint.

The Green Trail Press Conference took place on October 14th, 2019.

What is The Green Trail?

Granger: There’s an event coming up on December 1st called The Green Trail. It’s a race from Ha Noi to Ho Chi Minh and it is going to go along a trail of electric charging and swapping stations that Benfe Motors’ new E-scooters and motorcycles can charge on. So, you have the first infrastructure for electric motorcycle across a nation that’s been built anywhere in the world here in Vietnam. And that race is going to start in Ha Noi on December 1st and race all the way down the coast to Ho Chi Minh City on December 8th for a big celebration. It shows that you can now charge and service electric scooters in the country of Vietnam, from one end to the other. What do you think about that? 

Cameron: It’s amazing. The only place that has some sort of infrastructure like that is the U.S when it comes to the Tesla cars. So, it’s going to be awesome. 

Granger: We are very involved with that, not as The Lotus but as The Vietnam Group and Benfe Motors. We’ve had a lot of excitement around that. It is a historic event and is a meaningful event because it helps educate the country not only on the importance of the environment and the leadership Vietnam is taking, supporting companies like MOPO and taking the leadership role and showing that they are trying to help with the environment here in Southeast Asia. It is a wonderful thing. It also shows the people that there are solutions to gas motorcycles. Vinfast started that and they did a great job, but this will be a big way to highlight that in a country that lives and breathes on their motorcycles. 

Cameron: It’s like getting a car in the U.S. My favorite thing is when I felt like I actually lived here as soon as I mastered sleeping on my bike. I am so good at it now. I’m happy that my first bike was an NVX and not a Vision, those are challenging to sleep on them. 

Granger: It’s beautiful to see the ladies in their áo dài driving to work or going around the city and they have their helmets on and their sunglasses. It’s beautiful. And it’s part of their culture and it has not changed. You have cars here, but this is a bike country. 

Cameron: That’s what we were trying to do. The Green Trail is having a photo contest. And this contest is comparing Vietnam now to Vietnam 20 years ago or so. It’s really just about moments that were pivotal in your life or that you think really represent the real Vietnam.

Granger: You can go to Facebook, to The Green Trail and you can enter the photo contest or thegreentrail.com. Put a picture of what Vietnam used to be like and what it’s like now or what it can be in the future. They’re giving away an electric motorcycle. They’re giving away battery batteries, not only for the motorcycles but for handheld use, and a bunch of other prizes. 

Cameron: I’m very excited. I can imagine the amazing photos. 

Granger: Heartbeat Vietnam, which is part of the Vina Capital is a beneficiary of this because they help save kids who have heart issues. They’d give heart transplants to thousands of kids and they do 45,000 checkups a year for free for children in Vietnam. That’s amazing. So, they are going to be a beneficiary and receiving some of the funds from the sponsorship of the event. The healthy heart comes from healthy air, right? It’s awesome that they’re involved. 

Granger: The Green Trail event is going to be really exciting. If anybody wants to get involved with that, go to thegreentrail.com. If you want to see a leader in the industry of green technology in Vietnam, mopolife.com is something that you can go look at. And if you have any questions, you can reach us at info@thevietnamgroup.com or when you’re out in the city, grab Cam! Have a great weekend, everybody! It’s been a great chat with you. It’s my birthday weekend since it started yesterday. I am doing this and then I’m going to go out of here and party! 

The Lotus Talks is produced by The Vietnam Group. This episode was produced by Granger Whitelaw, Cameron Lynch and Toan Tang.

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