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Thailand charges towards an electric car future, with a few speed bumps

Thaiger

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Thailand charges towards an electric car future, with a few speed bumps | Thaiger

Thailand has the biggest automotive industry in Southeast Asia and the 12th largest in the world. Most of those coming out of Thai factories, well just about all really, are standard internal combustion engines with a few ‘hybrid’ models sprinkled in there as well. The hybrids include electric motors and charging systems which saves fuel and load on the petrol engines.

But there is a strong tilt to electric cars as a future for Thailand’s massive auto industry. There are currently 19 major auto manufacturers in Thailand, all trying to move towards a slice of the future EV pie. There’s also a handful of electric car start-ups working within the Kingdom.

The Thai Energy Ministry’s Energy Planning and Policy Office says that purchases of electric vehicles in Thailand will rise from just 9,000 back in 2018 to over 400,000 in 2028. They’ve peered further into the future too, predicting 1.2 million EVs in 2036 and 690 charging stations scattered around the country.

Just this week a major Thai petro-chemical company, Bangchak, announced that the company is planning to install EV charging stations at all its petrol stations under an MoU for clean energy business development signed with the Provincial Electricity Authority. That will be another 62 charging stations installed this year with other petrol companies and coffee company Amazon signalling they’re getting their electric charging vibe happening too.

For its part, the Thai government provides incentives in the form of low import tariffs for importers and tax exemptions for manufacturers, but few incentives for consumers at this stage. But, despite the incentives, the Electric Vehicle Association of Thailand says that Thailand’s EV take-up rate is too slow.

Three HEV models have been locally assembled since 2009: the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Nissan X-Trail. Mercedes-Benz BlueTEC hybrid engines have been assembled in Thailand since 2013 before upgrading to a PHEV platform in 2016. BMW began PHEV assembly in Thailand in 2016. Toyota assembles 7,000 HEVs a year in Thailand and makes 70,000 EV batteries.

But there is little doubt the popularity of locally built and imported EVs will rise over the next few years. There will be more choice, the cars will become more affordable, travel further on a charge, and there will be more convenient and numerous refuelling stations around the country.

There’s certainly now general consensus among international motorists that it’s time to move to eco-friendly alternatives as the best long-term solution to vehicle-produced air pollution from fossil fuels. Up to now the costs of the electric alternatives have been high, ownership seen as a ‘statement’ rather than as ‘just a car’, and the lack of refuelling stations making owning an electric vehicle more problematic.

It’s certainly not about performance anymore with many new electric cars now making their petrol cousins look like grandma’s Sunday drive in the old Volvo (with apologies to Volvo drivers of the past. But… really…).

But, so far, Thai motorists haven’t embraced EVs. Certainly many are waiting for more availability of infrastructure to support EV, such as recharging stations. The price is still higher than an equivalent petrol or diesel model and the selection has been limited. There’s also been a lot of new ‘hybrid’ models – part electric, part conventional engine – that are confusing the buyers who don’t yet have a clear understanding of what an EV is and what a hybrid is, how they work and the various versions offered by car-makers.

Whilst many of the hybrid versions are offered as part of a current model line-up, the full EVs are usually a stand-alone design.

There’s also the old perception that they don’t have any performance, don’t go far between charges, the batteries need replacing every few years and they will be difficult to resell. In all cases there have been huge technical and infrastructure advances making the claims mostly redundant.

A survey last year by Frost & Sullivan suggested that 37% of Asians are currently interested in owning an EV, with those in the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia having the highest purchasing power and interest in upgrading. The reasons behind their motivation to purchase EVs included the environment, safety, convenience and financial readiness.

Over the next ten years Thailand is expected to have 690 recharging stations nationwide, that compares to around 25,000 petrol\gas stations around the Kingdom now.

With the Thai government slowly getting behind EVs, and the government and industry’s need to future-proof the car manufacturing business, there is a powerful future for electric cars in Thailand. The next 12 months will be a key period to stamp a “powerful” foundation on a revised car industry.

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Business

Bitcoin sheds nearly 15% of its ‘value’ in one day

Tim Newton

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Bitcoin sheds nearly 15% of its ‘value’ in one day | Thaiger

After a meteoric, and probably unsustainable rise and rise over the past 12 months, Bitcoin has suffered a short and sharp mini-crash over the weekend, dropping nearly 15% of its value in less than an hour – a stark warning of the cryptocurrency’s unpredictable volatility.

Bitcoin dropped in ‘value’ from about US$59,000 to US$51,000 before rebounding. Ethereum and Dogecoin also suffered dramatic and sudden losses, before clawing back some of their losses.

This time last year Bitcoin was simmering around US$7,725 after bumping up and down on the spot since 2018. But last year, fuelled by fears of an over-heated US stock market, Covid volatility (whatever that is), government handouts and people-with-too-much-time-on-their-hands, Bitcoin went on a spectacular climb to peak at US$63,588 last Tuesday. But Newton’s first law (the scientist, not me) kicked into action, and with venom.

The price of a single Bitcoin hit a low of US$52,810.06 Saturday after tumbling more than US$7,000 in just one hour, before stabilising.

The drop on Saturday appears to have been triggered by a Twitter rumour that the US Treasury would crack down on money laundering schemes involving cryptocurrencies. Separately, Reuters reported a power blackout in China’s Xinjiang region, where a lot of Bitcoin ‘mining’ happens, was blamed for the steep dive.

That information came from data website CoinMarketCap.

The sudden rise of the cryptocurrencies over the past 12 months has drawn a lot of attention from governments and investors, and RobinHood-esque day trade brigade. Coinbass went public, and therefore ‘mainstream’, last Wednesday.

“All eyes are on Coinbase… as the cryptocurrency exchange prepares for its first day of trading as a public company on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol ‘COIN’.

Coinbase’s market debut is a special event for several reasons. First, it will be Nasdaq’s first major direct listing, an unusual route for companies to go public without the underwriting of an investment bank.” – USA Today

Then Dogecoin had a 500% rally – an ‘asset’ that was created as a joke 8 years ago – on April 16. 500%!!!

The fervent supports of cryptocurrencies, almost a cult, are having their moment and proving, for now, that they can have their day in the financial sun as well. With Coinbase’s successful debut on Wall Street last week, they’ve gone all suit and tie.

Last year’s sharp, and very tempting, rise in Bitcoin values has the wider financial market talking about the bubble in the cryptocurrency market – Bitcoin has more than doubled in value since the start of this year. The market will decide whether that bubble will continue to grow or do what bubbles eventually do.

At the end of 2017 the Bitcoin digital token rose in value to nearly US$20,000 before crashing to almost US$3,000 the following year.

For now, it’s all eyes on the cryptos to see which way they move. The only thing that can be guaranteed is that their valuations will remain volatile and that there will be winners and losers.

Bitcoin sheds nearly 15% of its 'value' in one day | News by Thaiger

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Business

The Thaiger joins forces with Masii to bring you hassle-free Thailand re-entry packages and much more

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The Thaiger joins forces with Masii to bring you hassle-free Thailand re-entry packages and much more | Thaiger

PRESS RELEASE

The Thiager and its sister company Tadoo, have announced they will enter a strategic partnership with the Bangkok-based fintech company, Masii.

Having joined forces with Masii, The Thaiger aims to provide its 6 million-plus monthly users with exclusive deals and packages such as the Thailand re-entry package, comprising of the Certificate of Entry (COE), Covid-19 Travel Insurance and a Covid-19 Test.

Sapir Matmon, of Tadoo, says “This tie-up will allow us to provide our readers with all-inclusive packages specifically designed to make the whole process of coming back to Thailand as simple as possible. And by booking through us, all service fees will be waived – a saving of more than 1,000 Baht. We’re confident you won’t find a better price in the market right now.”

The Thaiger joins forces with Masii to bring you hassle-free Thailand re-entry packages and much more | News by Thaiger

“We can provide everything you need to enter Thailand hassle-free and within 12 hours, which is the fastest in the market.” Says Maxwell Meyer, CEO of Masii.

Covid-19 has drastically accelerated the industry’s movement toward shifting products and services online.

Sapir says “We are tremendously pleased to welcome the Masii team and work alongside Maxwell, as one of the stars of the local fintech scene.”

Tadoo, The Thiager’s sister company, has also teamed up with Masii on their Thai price comparison platform, tadoo.co, which offers a similar range of products including, insurance, finance, internet, and mobile.

The goal of Tadoo is to bring clarity to the Thai market and assist consumers in making better-informed choices by offering a quick and convenient solution for getting the products they want without the hassle.

For more information on the Thailand Re-Entry Full Package, click HERE.

The Thaiger joins forces with Masii to bring you hassle-free Thailand re-entry packages and much more | News by Thaiger

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Aviation authority calling for 20,000 vaccine doses for crew, ground staff

Maya Taylor

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Aviation authority calling for 20,000 vaccine doses for crew, ground staff | Thaiger
PHOTO: Christian Junker on Flickr

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand is calling for vaccine doses to protect around 20,000 airline crew and ground staff before the country re-opens to international tourists. The CAAT says it’s vital that those working in the aviation industry are protected and has submitted its request to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

According to Suthipong Kongpool from the CAAT, there are around 20,000 airline employees, including crew and ground staff, who will need to be vaccinated. As 2 doses are required, a total of 40,000 doses are needed to fully protect staff. The Bangkok Post reports that the CAAT will meet on Thursday to review the aviation sector’s readiness for when the country re-opens without international arrivals having to quarantine.

Suthipong says they are seeking enough vaccine doses to protect employees of Thai-registered carriers.

“It’s a confidence-building measure for tourists and those providing the services to them.”

From July, the southern island of Phuket will be the first part of the country to waive quarantine for vaccinated international arrivals, subject to 70% of local residents being vaccinated. The “sandbox” project is a pilot programme that will be expanded to other areas if it proves successful. Between October and the end of the year, 5 other provinces – Phang Nga, Surat Thani, Krabi, Chon Buri, and Chiang Mai – are expected to adopt the programme. Officials hope to be able to re-open the country fully from January 2022.

According to the CAAT, the first foreign visitors expected to return to Phuket will be Chinese tourists, given that country’s success in managing the pandemic. Meanwhile, the CAAT says Thailand will see a 7% increase in air traffic this month compared to last, with a total of 36,150 domestic and international flights.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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