EA poised for strides in EV batteries, cars

EA poised for strides in EV batteries, cars

3 projects granted BoI incentives

A Mine Mobility car prototype at the Bangkok International Motor Show in 2018. EA aims to market this EV in 2019. Patipat Janthong
A Mine Mobility car prototype at the Bangkok International Motor Show in 2018. EA aims to market this EV in 2019. Patipat Janthong

SET-listed Energy Absolute Plc (EA) is ready to implement three electric vehicle (EV) projects after the Board of Investment (BoI) has granted incentives.

EA and its subsidiaries won BoI privileges to manufacture lithium-ion batteries (worth 2 billion baht) in May, construction of EV charging stations (1.092 billion baht) in November, and an R&D unit for full EVs (130 million baht) in December.

"EA is considering raising capital expenditures for the next phase of business investment to a combined 26.6 billion baht in spending this year. All three EV projects are included in this massive budget," said Omsin Siri, EA's vice-president for corporate communication.

This would be EA's largest budget investment since listing on the stock market in January 2013.

Some 4 billion baht will be used to construct an energy storage facility in Chachoengsao, including lithium-ion batteries, within the Eastern Economic Corridor.

EA entered a joint venture with Taiwan's Amita Technologies to develop 50 gigawatt-hour (GWh) lithium-ion batteries.

The first phase will have a capacity of 1GWh and commence commercial operations in the second half of 2019. This phase will generate power.

The second phase will come with a capacity of 49GWh and commence commercial operations in 2021, producing components to be installed in EV.

Energy Mahanakhon, an EA subsidiary, plans to set up 3,000 charging stations under the EA Anywhere brand nationwide. The stations are compatible with plug-in hybrid and full EVs.

For the development of full EVs, Mine Mobility Research Co, another EA subsidiary, expects to launch Thai-made full EVs sometime in 2019.

Mrs Omsin said EA will carry out R&D for Mine Mobility cars and hire a local car assembler to make the EVs.

She did not name the assembler and the initial capacity for Mine Mobility cars.

"EA will showcase EV prototypes at the Bangkok International Motor Show during March-April as we commit to EA's plan to soon market Thai-made EVs," said Mrs Omsin. "We are in the process of seeking local parts suppliers for Mine Mobility cars that are equipped with EA's lithium-ion batteries."

She said once the Mine Mobility cars receive positive response from local motorists, EA can invest further to produce the EVs by itself.

Mrs Omsin said 2 billion baht is being allocated to develop higher-value biodiesel products -- bio hydrogenated diesel and phase change materials.

The production facility for biodiesel products is located in Rayong province, with a capacity of 130 tonnes per day for purified crude palm oil.

Separately, EA announced commercial operation dates (CODs) for two units of the Hanuman wind power farm in Chaiyaphum province. The two units have a capacity of 45 megawatts each.

The 260MW Hanuman project has been delayed for several months.

Amorn Sapthaweekul, EA's deputy chief executive, said the first two units of the Hanuman project commenced operations last Friday.

The electricity output will be sold to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand.

"The remaining 170MW will commence operations later this year," said Mr Amorn.

The Hanuman wind farm project is valued at 18 billion baht, taking up the majority of EA's 26.6-billion-baht budget.

EA has renewable power capacity of 494MW, comprising solar (278MW) and wind (216MW) projects, and expects to achieve capacity of 664MW by 2019.

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