EV sales set to top forecasts after motor show boom

EV sales set to top forecasts after motor show boom

Tax cuts and subsidies encourage drivers to book green cars, lower-priced models on the way

Visitors look at an MG EP, one of the electric vehicles making a debut at the Bangkok International Motor Show, which ended on April 3. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Visitors look at an MG EP, one of the electric vehicles making a debut at the Bangkok International Motor Show, which ended on April 3. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Sales of electric vehicles are on course to hit the roof this year but it will be some time before they surpass the number of conventional vehicles on the country’s roads.

The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) issued a forecast earlier that about 5,000 EVs would be on the roads this year, but figures from the recently ended Bangkok International Motor Show indicate that the target will be easily achievable.

Carmakers sold about 3,000 EVs, making up of about 10% of the total bookings at the event, according to Surapong Paisitpatanapong, vice-chairman and spokesman for the FTI’s automotive club.

His figures differed from those announced by the organisers Grand Prix International Plc after the end of the 12-day show. They said 2,040 EV units had been booked during the event.

“We could see 8,000 to 10,000 EVs this year given expectations that cheaper brands are coming in,” Mr Surapong told a CU Radio news programme broadcast by Chulalongkorn University.

EV bookings this year represent a huge jump compared with only 200 in 2017, thanks to tax cuts and subsidies from the government to promote clean air and green energy, leading to cheaper prices for consumers.

Still, Mr Surapong said he did not expect EVs to overtake internal combustion engine-powered cars in the next 10 years given the advantages of conventional vehicles and the infrastructure to fuel them.

“Internal combustion engine-powered vehicles are still a choice for consumers in terms of convenience in petrol filling and travel,” he said. But they will gradually be phased out over the coming decade, he added.

The country has about 17 million vehicles powered by gasoline, 10 million of them private cars for no more than seven passengers. The kingdom has only 5,000 EVs and 2,400 charging stations, mostly concentrated in Bangkok.


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