Importance of EVs touted by minister
Electric vehicles (EV) are expected to transform Thailand's automotive industry in five years and are instrumental in driving Thailand to become an EV hub in Asia during that period, says Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow.
"EVs will completely change the local manufacturing sector over the next five years, while helping to support Thailand to achieve its ambitious plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions," said Mr Supattanapong at an EV forum.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha declared at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow that Thailand wants to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2065 as part of the country's long-term ambition on climate action.
Thailand produces about 250 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year, 100 million tonnes of which stem from electricity generation.
According to Mr Supattanapong, the government remains committed to promoting power generated from solar cells and wind energy, both in the private sector and for households, as well as biomass. A new power development plan is being drafted to increase the proportion of renewable energy used to produce electricity to reach 50% in 2050, up from 20% in 2021.
If Thailand can meet this goal, gas emissions from electricity generation will drop to around 35 million tonnes in 2043, he said.
Mr Supattanapong said EVs are expected to affect oil refineries, leading them to shift production towards the petrochemical industry because of reduced demand for fossil fuels. The palm industry is also expected to switch to oleo-chemical or biochemical, instead of focusing on blends for diesel or gasoline.
In the transport sector, which produces 80 million tonnes of emissions a year, the government plans to halve the figure by 2050. He said EVs are expected to account for 30% of domestic car production or 750,000 units a year in 2030. The government also wants EV batteries to be manufactured in Thailand within three years, while adding sufficient charging stations to support EV users during this period.
"The EV investment stimulus policy will enable Thailand to seek new foreign investment and expertise to achieve regional leadership in EV production. All vehicles sold domestically by 2035 will be zero-emission, allowing Thailand to become a "low carbon society," said Mr Supattanapong. "The Energy Ministry is planning hydrogen-powered vehicles, which can greatly reduce carbon dioxide emissions."