Ministerial squabble delays EV measures

Ministerial squabble delays EV measures

Focus of initial phase up for debate

A visitor examines an EV at the Motor Expo last November at Impact Muang Thong Thani.  (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
A visitor examines an EV at the Motor Expo last November at Impact Muang Thong Thani.  (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

A difference of opinions between the Energy Ministry and the Industry Ministry has resulted in a delay in the introduction of measures to support electric vehicles (EVs), according to a source at the National Electric Vehicle Policy Committee who requested anonymity.

The source said the original schedule required Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow to propose the measures to the cabinet on Dec 28, 2021 or in January. However, the proposal has been put off as the ministries work to settle their differences.

The Industry Ministry wants to set a condition that EV manufacturers have to set up an EV battery plant in Thailand if they want to gain benefits from the planned incentives.

However, the Energy Ministry believes during the initial period the focus should be on promoting EV imports.

If car makers are urged to invest in EV production and battery plants when local EV sales remain low, this could make EV manufacturers feel the investment is not worthwhile, said the source.

Earlier Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said the ministry wants Thailand to transition from fossil fuel-powered vehicles to the EV industry in 10 years.

Mr Arkhom acknowledged it will not be easy for Thailand to fully adopt EVs in a short period of time as there are 40 million fossil fuel-powered vehicles at present, of which 20 million are cars and the rest motorcycles.

He said the ministry previously planned to introduce measures to promote EV adoption, including reducing the excise tax and import tariffs for EVs to lower their prices to an affordable level for the mass market. Another measure is a subsidy for those who buy full EVs.

These incentives will run for five years from 2022, said Mr Arkhom.

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