Nissan pledges Thai EV hub
Nissan Asean has invested billions of baht as part of its plan to help make Thailand an electric vehicle (EV) hub for export worldwide, expecting up to 250 million EVs will hit the streets in Asean.
The Japanese automaker is using new technology that allows full EVs to run without needing a charging, a core part of its strategy to encourage people to buy EVs.
In a virtual conference on Thursday, Nissan Asean did not unveil the amount of the outlay, saying only it will gradually allocate budget for the plan.
The company also did not specify when the number of EVs will reach 250 million, but cited the latest opinion survey by Frost & Sullivan Co that said 66% of 3,000 people interviewed in six Asean countries, including Thailand, said they expect EVs to eventually dominate the market.
"EV is becoming a mainstream technology to help protect the world environment," said Isao Sekiguchi, regional vice-president of Nissan Asean.
Mr Sekiguchi said Thailand is the first country in Asean that attracted Nissan to invest in the EV business.
The company already developed a domestic supply chain here after relocating its production facilities from Indonesia.
The Yokohama-based car manufacturer aims to use its "E-Power" technology to generate sales.
The technology has a built-in generator that operates while the car is running, keeping electricity in the battery so drivers do not have to charge their vehicles.
Some 76% of Thais interviewed said a lack of EV charging outlets in residential areas is a major hindrance to EV purchases, while 47% said they are worried about the availability of charging facilities in public, said Vivek Vaidya, senior vice-president for intelligent mobility at Frost & Sullivan Asia-Pacific.
His company conducted a survey in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines, and interviewed 500 people in Hong Kong.
It found younger people in the countries surveyed are interested in buying EVs in the next three years.
The Thai government set a target to have EVs comprise 30% of total car production by 2030 in a bid to reduce air pollutants, notably PM2.5 dust.
"The government knows it needs to do more to reach this goal, using such measures as excise tax reduction," said Dusit Anantarak, senior expert at the Office of Industrial Economics.