Egat gathers data for EV charging outlets
The state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) is paving the way for development of charging outlets for electric vehicles (EVs) by using data collected from a test run of its own newly developed electric motorcycles, buses and boats.
The plan was announced on Tuesday as Egat officially launched prototype EVs under cooperation with two universities and the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA), a state-run bus operator.
The one-year test will start at the end of October.
Egat chairman Kulit Sombatsiri said his agency wants to spearhead the development of an EV system after years of small-scale testing of an electric sedan. Egat is scaling up the test for commercial purposes.
Mr Kulit said data collected from the test will detail how frequently motorists charge their vehicles and the optimal distance between charging outlets. The information will help Egat better plan EV facilities in Bangkok and for long-haul trips between provinces.
Egat has teamed up with King Mongkut's University of Technology North Bangkok to make 51 electric motorcycles and worked with Kasetsart University (Sriracha Campus) to build two electric boats.
While the boats will only be used for Egat's jobs, the motorcycles, with a price of 50,000 baht, will be tested by motorcycle taxi drivers near Egat headquarters in Nonthaburi.
The drivers will be equipped with a mobile application to manage the system and can swap used batteries for fully charged ones.
Egat teamed up with BMTA to modify four ageing diesel-powered buses into electric buses. The buses, labelled Por Or 543, will serve passengers between Egat's headquarters and the Bang Khen bus terminal.
Egat wants to set up Egat Innovation Holdings as its new subsidiary in energy technology.
Data compiled during the test will be used to develop the business direction of the new company.
Egat governor Viboon Rerksirathai said the trial is crucial for the agency, as it will enable Egat to seize a new business opportunity once EV technology becomes widely popular.
Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow has assigned officials to revise the electricity rate for EV users. Last year the National Energy Policy Council approved a temporary rate of 2.6-4.1 baht per kilowatt-hour.
Energy officials have said it's time for a new special rate for both EVs and electric trains.