Thailand's EV industry given further boost with PTT-Foxconn venture
By Chalermlapvoraboon Valaiporn
BANGKOK, NNA - Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn Technology Group has signed an agreement with Thai conglomerate PTT Pcl to launch a production platform of hardware and software services for making electric vehicles in the Southeast Asian kingdom.
The platform will be available to all automobile players in Thailand looking to accelerate their production and sales of EVs in Thailand and elsewhere in the ASEAN region, said a joint statement by the two companies.
It said, "The effort uniquely combines PTT’s strengths in Thailand’s market knowledge, distribution network, extensive customer reach and a commitment to future-oriented, innovative and sustainable solutions and Foxconn’s proven capabilities as a global leader in smart manufacturing and its visionary push in leading electric car technological solutions."
The partners will invest $1 billion in the venture in the first phase, before shelling out possibly $2 billion subsequently, said state-owned PTT, whose businesses range from petrol and retail to emerging EV and battery-charging infrastructure.
The venture will expand not only Foxconn's presence in the fast-growing industry, but also strengthen Thailand's position as an automotive hub in Southeast Asia.
The country is accelerating the transformation of its production of conventional cars to making electric cars as it aims to capture the expected surge in EV growth post-pandemic with its existing supply chains.
Interest in the EV sector has become rife in recent months, with automakers and even smartphone producers making news with their big investments.
Foxconn is already operating an EV platform, which is being used to produce two light vehicles in the fourth quarter of this year, the company had said earlier.
The new platform in Thailand will also entail an ecosystem combining state-of-the-art technologies across the EV value chain, including auto parts manufacturing.
It will build on Foxconn’s recently established MIH industry alliance, an open network that enables developers and manufacturers to offer a complete software and hardware platform to build electric cars.
Auttapol Rerkpiboon, president and CEO of PTT said its collaboration with Foxconn agreement is a significant milestone for PTT’s growing EV value chain to foster sustainable growth while addressing the changing era of future energy especially transportation and mobility.
“The business partnership with Foxconn will emphasize the expertise of two companies that will be beneficial to enabling the automotive industry to meet quality goals and sustainable global benchmarks,” said Auttapol.
"In addition, in response to the government’s policy, the expansion of EV production will provide significant opportunities for enhancing Thailand's transportation system through reduced emissions, and this will allow the country to move more rapidly towards sustainable, renewable sources of electricity."
The company told NNA that it is still looking for a suitable plant location for the joint venture, which has the support of incentives by the government's National Electric Vehicle Committee in collaboration with the country's Board of Investment.
The virtual signing ceremony of the memorandum of understanding between PTT and Foxconn was presided by Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, whose presence reflected the significance of their collaboration.
Young Liu, chairman of Foxconn, said, "This cooperation with PTT and the Thai government to realize the vision of sustainable development of the EV industry, demonstrates that the MIH ecosystem is growing. Moreover, this way of cooperation is widely recognized."
Noting that PTT is making headway in EV and battery charging infrastructure, Liu said Foxconn can "contribute its expertise and technology to gradually build a complete and vertically integrated EV industry in Thailand."
Thailand has developed a 30/30 vision for electric vehicles, targeting zero-emission vehicles to contribute 30 percent to total car production by 2030. This means it has to produce 725,000 emission-free passenger cars yearly by then.
Thailand has also set a bold target of having electric vehicles account for 50 percent of all new car registrations by the end of this decade. It aims to sell only zero-emission vehicles in the country from 2035.
The country's energy planning and policy office expects EV sales to rise significantly from 9,000 in 2018 to 406,000 in 2028, and 1.2 million in 2036.
The car industry is a key sector, accounting for about 10 percent of the Thai economy. It produces more than two million vehicles annually, of which more than half are exported to the world.
Thailand is a production base for car companies such as Toyota Motor, Mitsubishi Motors, BMW and Ford.