Swag EV lines up electric scooter plant
Large local supply chain cited
Singaporean startup Swag EV plans to establish an assembly plant for electric scooters in Thailand next year to take advantage of the large motorcycle supply chain locally, reducing assembly costs.
Incorporated in November 2018, Swag EV is the manufacturer and wholesaler for electric scooters, with a budget of 300 million baht to begin this business. In 2016, it acquired an electric bicycle company in Shanghai.
Swag EV develops and assembles electric scooters in China, with a plan to market these zero-emission scooters in Southeast Asia.
It has started to market in Singapore. Swag EV imports two models -- Type S and Type X -- in Thailand with prices of 62,900 and 65,900 baht, respectively.
Janson Chen, executive director, said the startup is planning to operate the scooter factory in Thailand next year and relocate some production capacity from China.
"The China factory has the capacity to assemble roughly 50,000-100,000 scooters per year," said Mr Chen.
However, Swag EV did not disclose the planned budget or location for this factory. The logistics warehouse for the local market is in Samut Prakan.
He said the local assembly factory will mean competitive prices in Southeast Asian markets, including Thailand.
"Pricing is a challenge in marketing electric scooters because imported parts and processes from China represent up to 72% of the retail price," said Mr Chen.
Unlike the import of electric cars from China, these products will enjoy a duty exemption under the Asean Free Trade Area (Afta).
When the products are produced and assembled in Southeast Asian countries, they can be shipped to be sold in this region with zero import duty under the Afta agreement.
He said Swag EV expects to deliver roughly 10,000 electric scooters in Southeast Asia this year, 50% of those coming from the Thai market. The next markets will be Vietnam and Indonesia.
"Swag EV is working on the import regulations of those markets," said Mr Chen.
In Southeast Asia, Indonesia is the largest motorcycle market with 6.38 million units in 2018. Vietnam was second with 3.39 million units for the period.
Thailand is third with 1.79 million motorcycles and the Philippines fourth with 1.59 million.
"Southeast Asia is a huge production hub for many industrial products because of the urbanisation of regional populations," said Mr Chen. "We have seen this opportunity to offer zero-emission motorcycles as another choice for buyers who are concerned about the rising air pollution in major cities."
Swag EV has a showroom at Siam Square One selling two models of electric scooters. He said both models are equipped with a 2,000-watt electric motor, supplied by Bosch, and 60-volt and 26-amp-hour battery, supplied by Samsung.
Both scooters come with removable lithium-ion batteries that can be plugged into any electric socket for charging and take 2-3 hours to fully charge. The bikes can cover a distance of 90 kilometres with a maximum speed of 50km per hour.
Mr Chen said Swag EV will focus on both retail and corporate sales in Thailand.
"We are in talks with many agencies such as Banpu, True Digital Park and Thailand Post to supply our electric scooters for their logistics operations and parcel deliveries," he said.
Swag EV has secured a fleet sale of 200 scooters.