Thailand aims to have over 1 mil. electric vehicles on roads by 2025, 15 mil. by 2035

01, Apr. 2021

Volvo Cars Thailand displays its first 100 percent electric car models at the Bangkok International Motor Show on March 23, 2021. (NNA)
Volvo Cars Thailand displays its first 100 percent electric car models at the Bangkok International Motor Show on March 23, 2021. (NNA)

By Chalermlapvoraboon Valaiporn

BANGKOK, NNA - Last week, Thailand's national electric vehicle (EV) policy committee announced that it has set a target of at least 1,055,000 electric vehicles on Thai roads by 2025.

The projected figures for three categories are 402,000 cars and pickup trucks, 622,000 motorcycles and 31,000 buses and trucks.

The longer-term target is 15,580,000 electric vehicles by 2035, said energy minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow.

Giving the breakdown, he said the numbers should rise to 6,400,000 cars and pickups, 8,750,000 motorcycles and 430,000 buses and trucks.

The push for the production and adoption of greener cars in Thailand is being helped by a slew of government financing, tax and parking incentives for car makers and owners.

While the market is still very small, EV adoption in Thailand has been growing steadily, with more than 30,000 new hybrid vehicles and more than 1,200 battery electric cars and motorcycles registered in 2019, according to the Electric Vehicle Association of Thailand.

While the overall auto market took a big hit last year because of the pandemic, the EV segment managed to grow by more than 1 percent largely due to the introduction of new models, according to analysts.

Recently, Kasikorn Research Center forecast sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to jump by 210-288 percent to 4,000-5,000 units this year. It expects electric cars to account for 55 percent of all car sales in Thailand within 10 years.

To entice buyers, some car companies are displaying their latest EV models equipped with innovative features at the Bangkok International Motor Show (BIMS) now on till April 4.

Even the e-models of luxury cars now come with cheaper, more accessible price tags.

The new highlight at the show is the Smart EV City zone featuring the motoring lifestyle of tomorrow as purveyed by the impressive innovations seen in the more sustainable vehicles, motorcycles and scooters on display.

Audi's fancy electric sports car, the RS e-tron GT, which boasts 645 horsepower and a top speed of 246 kilometers per hour, made its Asia debut at the show. It is one of the German carmaker's new luxury e-models.

Expecting demand to rise, Audi Thailand plans to offer up to 20 EV models in all categories by 2025.

Another proud participant is Swedish maker Volvo, whose XC40 Recharge Pure Electric SUV can travel over 400 kilometers when its battery is fully charged. This is more than adequate for a daily trip from an outlying Bangkok suburb to the heart of the city and back.

Lexus, the luxury brand of Toyota, took the opportunity to unveil its first-ever fully electric model, the UX 300e, to the Thai market. It is powered by an electric motor providing a maximum output of 150 kilowatts or 201 horsepower.

Combined with a lithium-ion battery, the car achieves an ideal acceleration of 0-100 kph in 7.5 seconds, said Toyota. The battery with a high capacity of 54 kilowatts per hour also enables the car to travel a maximum distance of 360 km on a single charge.

Also capturing attention at the motor show is Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor which launched the world premiere of its hybrid SUV model, Haval H6.

The company, which has acquired General Motors’ Rayong plant last year, also displayed its other electric models such as the ORA series.

The motor show, which is held at IMPACT Muang Thong Thani exhibition and convention center, started on March 22, days after the country kicked off mass vaccination to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the biggest car shows in Southeast Asia, the two-week event saw the participation of more than 34 car and motorbike companies.

Other companies showcasing their cars are Ford, BMW, Suzuki, Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin, Maserati, Peugeot, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, MG, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Bentley, Kia and Subaru.

Visitors also get to see the latest motorcycles by TAKANO, AP Honda, Suzuki Motorcycle, Yamaha, Harley-Davidson, BAJAJ, KTM and Husqvarna.