EV Primus Co, a distributor of multiple brands of electric vehicles (EVs), has diversified its EV business by teaming up with Haupcar Co to offer an EV sharing service through a digital platform, aiming to serve the travel lifestyles of urban dwellers.
The company plans to lease Chinese-made Volt city EVs to Bangkokians who prefer travelling in battery-powered vehicles with zero emissions for short trips, said Pitaya Tanadamrongsak, managing director of EV Primus Co, also the distributor of China's second-largest automaker DFSK (Dongfeng).
Volt is manufactured by DFSK.
The EV rental service is based at Chulalongkorn University in central Bangkok. Rental is booked via a smartphone application, developed by Haupcar.
The two firms believe this can be an example of building a smart green city.
"We plan to deliver 20 EVs to Haupcar, with 10 in the first stage as we await more imported cars from China," said Mr Pitaya.
The prolonged global semiconductor shortage has affected many automakers, causing some to adjust their production plans.
EV Primus is discussing car rental rates with Haupcar and plans to make a decision soon, he said.
Krit Vichaiwatanapanich, chief executive of Haupcar, said Volt EVs can be useful for customers who want to travel in areas near the university.
"They can rent cars for hours, days or months," he said.
EV Primus plans to expand the EV sharing business, with 30 EVs, to Kasetsart and Thammasat universities, said Mr Pitaya.
"We see a new business opportunity and expect rental fees to be affordable for students, less expensive than taxi fees," he said.
Haupcar operates EV and petrol-powered car rental services through its digital platform, covering more than 1,000 areas across Thailand. Its total fleet of cars tallies 2,000.
"This year we plan to increase the number to 3,500 cars," said Mr Krit.
The company has 300 EVs for rent and wants to increase the figure to 600 by 2025, he said.
EV Primus earlier announced a co-investment to build a plant in Chachoengsao to assemble EVs, notably brands under Dongfeng, with a budget of more than 400 million baht. Annual production capacity is projected at 4,000 units.