Connect with us

Transport

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

Thaiger

Published

 on 

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.

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

If you have story ideas, a restaurant to review, an event to cover or an issue to discuss, contact The Thaiger editorial staff.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Economy18 mins ago

Industry body says Thai government must borrow another 1 trillion baht

Coronavirus (Covid-19)27 mins ago

Wednesday Covid Update: 141 deaths and 11,252 new cases

News35 mins ago

FDA passes on using Sinopharm vaccine for children over 3 years old

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Pattaya40 mins ago

October Pattaya reopening on schedule according to mayor

Coronavirus (Covid-19)58 mins ago

Communicable disease law may be amended to replace emergency decree

Tourism1 hour ago

Travel data to Thailand for 106 million people unprotected online

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand16 hours ago

Thailand News Today | OnlyFans content creators arrested on pornography charges | September 21

Thailand17 hours ago

Soldier allegedly assaults neighbours following horn honking

Thailand18 hours ago

Border agencies instructed to look out for gun smuggling along Myanmar border

Coronavirus (Covid-19)19 hours ago

Tuesday Covid Update: 10,919 new cases; provincial totals

Thailand19 hours ago

Officials clarify Korat police van stopped at the beach after collecting murder suspect

Crime19 hours ago

OnlyFans content creators arrested by Thai police on pornography charges

Thailand20 hours ago

Comments Galore! feat. Golf | Thaiger Bites | September 21

Cambodia20 hours ago

Scientists study bats in Cambodia to find clues about Covid

News21 hours ago

Update: government official that allegedly stole from fund meant for the disabled spent all the money on gambling

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14 | Thaiger
Thailand1 week ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism7 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending