Draft EV roadmap coming
National master plan to build confidence
The government is drafting a roadmap for electric vehicle (EV) production to begin in Thailand within three years, says Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana.
The roadmap will serve as a national master plan for EVs and must be finalised this year, he said.
Mr Uttama has discussed the issue with Industry Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit, but other agencies and the Energy and Transport ministries have yet to be brought into discussions.
The roadmap should build confidence among car makers looking to embark on EV manufacturing in Thailand, as they have asked for a clear government policy, investment criteria and incentives to drive EV production here.
Infrastructure such as charging stations and EV charging logistics must also have a clear plan.
There are many charging models in the world, such as those from Japan, Germany and the US, but any model that is picked must meet Thailand's safety standards, Mr Uttama said.
The country's electricity supply must also be taken into consideration, the finance minister said.
Car makers stand ready to invest in EV charging stations in Thailand, but they want to know what kind of support the government will offer.
"The auto industry has been transformed by digital tech firms engaging in car production," Mr Uttama said.
State officials are keen to develop Thailand's automotive industry into a regional hub for EVs, placing the sector among the 12 targeted industries under the S-curve policy.
The EV scheme was launched by the Board of Investment (BoI) in March 2017 to encourage investment applications from car makers. Eligible EVs are hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery versions.
The BoI reported that 13 companies were granted EV privileges, including Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, SAIC Motor-CP, FOMM, Mitsubishi and Mine Mobility.
Mr Uttama said the master plan has been drafted to some extent.
To encourage consumers to shift to EVs on a broad scale, EV prices, which are more expensive than fuel-powered vehicles, must be addressed in the master plan.
Mr Uttama pointed to Hong Kong as a place where the government has offered discounts to EV buyers for three years.
He said proposals for all tour buses that run in Bangkok to be EVs and for electric cars to account for 15% of new cars bought by state agencies will be brought to the relevant authorities for approval.