Soft loans to grow EV chargers

Soft loans to grow EV chargers

An electric vehicle charges at last year's Motor Expo. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
An electric vehicle charges at last year's Motor Expo. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

The government looks set to offer soft loans to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups that want to invest in charging stations for electric vehicles (EV), a move aimed at increasing domestic EV purchases.

According to Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow, who chairs meetings of the National EV Policy Committee, the committee is scheduled to consider additional measures to support small-scale EV charging stations next month, with soft loans likely to be provided to SMEs and startups that invest in charging stations.

"The government sees the soft loans as being essential to convince SMEs and startups to invest in charging stations, even though the Board of Investment [BoI] has already offered incentives for small investors that invest in small-scale charging stations," said Mr Supattanapong.

He declined to elaborate further on the measures or the soft loans.

On April 7 this year, the BoI approved enhanced incentives and conditions for investments in charging stations for EVs, aiming to accelerate the growth of the domestic EV market and quickly expand related infrastructure.

Under the revised incentives, smaller charging stations can enjoy three years of tax benefits, an extra incentive offered on top of the existing five-year corporate income tax exemption currently awarded to investments in charging stations with at least 40 chargers, 25% of which are the DC (direct current) type.

The revised measures abolished two requirements: a condition barring investors from receiving additional benefits from other agencies, and the ISO certification requirement. These two conditions are considered irrelevant because some chargers could be installed at other establishments such as hotels and condominiums, not only charging stations.

The BoI has offered incentives for charging stations since 2017, but as of Feb 28 this year, there are only three approved projects.

The government wants 2,200-2,400 DC charging stations by 2025 and up to 12,000 stations by 2030.

Mr Supattanapong said the government also aims to attract European EV manufacturers to invest locally.

On Feb 15 this year, the cabinet approved a package of incentives including tax cuts and subsidies to promote EV consumption and production between 2022-2023.

The subsidies range from 70,000 baht to 150,000 baht, depending on the type and model of vehicle, with lower excise tax and import duties on completely knocked-down and completely built-up units.

The cabinet also approved measures to promote domestic manufacturing of EVs, including exemption of import duties on significant electrical parts from 2022-2025.

Significant electrical parts include batteries, traction motors, compressors for battery EVs, battery management systems, drive control units and reduction gear.

The incentives offered for 2022-2023 cover imported cars and motorcycles, aiming to stimulate quick EV adoption in the country.

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