Use of EVs in commercial setting vital
The government is being urged to promote commercial electric vehicles (EVs), especially in mass transit and the transport of goods, as part of its efforts to grow the EV ecosystem amid growing concerns over carbon dioxide emissions and PM2.5 ultra-fine dust.
The suggestion was made as authorities view EVs and their charging infrastructure as a tool to help them achieve carbon neutrality -- a balance between carbon dioxide emissions and absorption -- by 2050.
Policymakers should start building the EV ecosystem by focusing more on commercial EVs than saloons, which are mostly utilised for personal use rather than a heavy workload, said Sompote Ahunai, chief executive of Energy Absolute Plc (EA), a renewable energy developer that is spearheading domestic EV development.
Buses, boats and trucks have large bodies that require a huge amount of diesel to power their internal combustion engines.
Diesel engines emit carbon dioxide and as they age become a major source of PM2.5 dust, which is so tiny it can easily get lodged in people's lungs, causing breathing difficulties.
Mr Sompote suggested the government prompt drivers and operators of commercial fleets and vehicles to replace them with EVs.
He believes more support for commercial EVs will benefit Thailand, helping car manufacturers make more outstanding products.
Thailand is well-known as a production hub for pickups.
EA currently operates a commercial service providing electric boats that serve commuters along the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok and Nonthaburi.
The company received orders to assemble 500 electric buses and delivered 100 of them to buyers last year.
EA also opened a lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant in Chachoengsao in early December last year.
The factory has a production capacity of 1 gigawatt-hour a year, which enables it to produce batteries for 4,160 buses or 30,000 saloons in the first phase.
Other commercial vehicle business operators are eager to adopt EV technology.
Local electric bus importer Nex Point Plc teamed up with Mon Group, a local logistics operator, for a trial run of an electric tractor head used to tow a trailer.
If a shift towards electric trucks is successful, the change will eventually disrupt oil-powered truck engine manufacturing, said Khanist Srivajiraprabha, chief executive of Nex Point.
Global Power Synergy Plc, the power generation arm of national oil and gas conglomerate PTT Group, joined hands with Chao Phraya Express Boat Co to jointly develop a prototype of a new electric boat aimed for commercial operation in the future.
Another PTT unit, PTT Oil and Retail Business Plc, is continuing with its plan to increase EV charging facilities at its petrol stations to 300 within 2022.