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 recently 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.
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