Driving Factors behind the Unexpected Growth of "Electric Vehicle Industry" in Thailand
06 January 2023
- Thailand is shaping up its electric vehicle (EV) industry by building on the already existing infrastructure for automotive and auto parts manufacturing industry.
- A good ecosystem is a requirement for Thailand to succeed in EV industry.
- Support from the government as well as relevant public agencies will contribute to the growth of EV industry in Thailand.
- Foreign direct investments from EV companies and world-class battery manufacturers continue to flow to Thailand, some of which include Neta Group, BYD, TESLA, FOXCONN, and many others, which indicate the opportunity for Thailand in this rising industry.
About 3-4 years ago, the trend of electric vehicles was huge in many countries. However, this was not the case in Thailand although the country has been the hub of Asia’s automotive and auto parts manufacturing for a long time due to the lack of a proper EV ecosystem. Nevertheless, the situation has been reversed within a short period of time due to active collaboration among various relevant parties. As a result, Thailand was able to transfer the success of the traditional automotive industry to the EV industry.
The latest report of investment in Thailand’s EV industry reveals that China’s conglomerate BYD has jointly invested over 20,000 million baht with Siam Motors Group under the name BYD Thailand, and is now building a facility here to manufacture right-hand drive BYD cars. This new facility is estimated to have a capacity of producing approximately 100,000 units per year for both domestic and international markets including ASEAN and Europe.
Neta Auto, another giant automaker from China, has entered Thailand with the launch of an electric city car which will be available at 30 dealers across the country by the end of 2022. It is now working with Arun Plus, a PTT affiliate to create an EV ecosystem with the production of electric cars in the next two years with subsidies from the Thai government. The sales target for the first year is 3,000 units and 12,000 units for the following year.
Additionally, PTT is also intensely focusing its effort on manufacturing efficient and effective batteries for EV by collaborating with Global Power Synergy Public Company Limited (GPSC) to research and develop battery technologies. Together, they have opened the first semi-rigid battery factory in Southeast Asia in the EEC area, thus making Thailand the third country in Asia to have a facility of this kind.
Meanwhile, Tesla has recently organized an official launch in Thailand on December 7 at the Tesla showroom, Siam Paragon in the heart of Bangkok. The launch introduced Tesla MODEL 3 with a starting price of 1.759 million baht and the Tesla MODEL Y with a starting price of 1.959 million baht. Both models will be ready for delivery in the first quarter of 2023. Tesla's debut in Thailand reflects confidence in the country’s bright future for EV users. It is also worth mentioning that Tesla is only available in 10 markets in the Asia-Pacific, namely China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand. Thailand is only the second country in Southeast Asia to welcome Tesla.
Another factor worth mentioning is the readiness of infrastructure in Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) to foster the EV ecosystem through collaboration among relevant government and private sectors. Together, they have installed 5,000 more charging stations, battery manufacturing factories, EV battery testing center, and a test field for self-driving vehicles. At the same time, the EEC is accelerating the development of EV Conversion and the development of electric vehicle garages along with the preparation of at least 30,000 skilled personnel to support the growth of the EV industry in this area.
Furthermore, as outlined by the 30@30 policy, the Thai government aims to have at least 30% of the total vehicle production to emit zero carbon by 2030 in order to become a low-carbon society. It also aims to position Thailand as the world’s or the region’s production base of electric vehicles and important parts. Consequently, the Thai government has issued measures to promote and support entrepreneurs in terms of benefits and tax cuts on EVs. The non-tax benefits will provide a maximum buyer subsidy of 70,000 baht for an EV with a battery size of 10-30 kW and a maximum buyer subsidy of 150,000 baht for an EV with a battery size of over 30 kW. The first phase of tax measures (year 2022-2023) for EVs (manufactured and sold domestically) with a suggested retail price of not more than 2 million baht per vehicle will receive a maximum reduction of import duty of 40%, and reduction of excise tax from 8% to 2%. Meanwhile, the EVs that are manufactured and sold domestically with a suggested retail price of more than 2 million baht per vehicle will get a reduction of import duty up to 20%.
All in all, the trajectory of the EV industry in Thailand is very intriguing. In the EEC area alone, many world-renowned EV manufacturers and relevant technology providers such as ABB, BMW, Siemens, REMODDIS, and ALBA group have already expressed an interest to invest. If these plans become successful, the goal to increase the market share of EVs in Thailand to 26% by 2027 could become a reality.
On another note, the changing consumer behavior is also an important contributing factor to the unexpected growth of the EV industry in Thailand. The EEC, together with the Fiscal Policy Research Institute Foundation (FRI) and a team of researchers from the Faculty of Economics at Thammasat University, has conducted Thailand’s first Dynamic-Computable General Equilibrium (Dynamic CGE) research on how the EV industry affects the Thai economy. The study found that some Thai households have already switched to EVs because they are more economical than traditional cars. This has resulted in the increase of total household consumption to 34,129 million baht in 2022 (the first year of the forecast), and is projected to continue to increase so that the total household consumption will increase to as high as 175,555 million baht by the year 2035. It can therefore be assumed that Thailand will successfully make a transition from primarily manufacturing fossil fuel-powered vehicles to EVs in the future.
It is obvious that the government's effort to promote the EV industry and clear strategic collaboration between BOI and EEC will continually enhance the investment value and elevate Thailand toward becoming one of the world’s important EV manufacturing locations. At the same time, the intensive marketing campaigns by the well-established foreign automotive manufacturers will also encourage the number of EV adoption in Thailand in the future.
Additionally, the event such as "Automotive Manufacturing 2023" organized in Thailand will further enhance the investment atmosphere and encourage all sectors in this industry to move forward with the EV trend. This event will be a part of “Manufacturing Expo 2023" to showcase the most diverse and complete range of technologies in the automotive parts manufacturing industry. It is organized by RX Tradex, ASEAN’s leading exhibition organizer, a member of RX, the world's leading event organizer whose global portfolio includes over 400 events in 22 countries.
"Automotive Manufacturing 2023" will take place during 21-24 June 2023 at BITEC, Bangkok, under the theme "The Path to Express Way of Future Automobiles."
The value that over 70,000 participants will acquire from this event will be the opportunity to meet directly with technology providers of advanced automotive parts manufacturing, as well as providers of equipment, materials, testing tools and other services such as automotive design from more than 250 leading brands. This will enable them to stay on top of the trends and negotiate with potential business partners who offer the right products and services, especially regarding EV production. Furthermore, the event will facilitate information sharing among industry leaders and peers through concurrent seminars and special activities that will help strengthen trade networks in the most comprehensive automotive technology exhibition in ASEAN.
To always get the latest updates with the most up-to-date information to drive your success towards the EV industry, don’t forget to mark your calendar so you don’t miss out on joining "Automotive Manufacturing 2023."