Kwaithong to invest on EV factory
Thai-owned Kwaithong Motor Co plans to invest 5 billion baht to build an assembly plant for electric vehicles in Thailand to serve both the domestic and Asean markets.
Chairman Zhang Kwaithong said the plant would assemble a wide range of electric vehicles including buses, vans, pickup trucks and passenger cars.
The company will apply for Board of Investment privileges and the new factory is likely to be situated in Greater Bangkok. Vehicles will be promoted under the Kwaithong brand.
Founded in 2009 by Mr Zhang, Kwaithong started by making agricultural engines.
"The company expects to start construction by late this year and the operation of the semi-knocked-down plant is scheduled for mid-2016, starting with making electric buses at a rate of 2,000 units a year," Mr Zhang said.
Kwaithong will import core components — lithium titanium batteries produced by Hong Kong-listed Hybrid Kinetic Group and chassis from German truck and bus manufacturer MAN AG.
Locally made parts will make up 30-40% of Kwaithong's electric buses.
Mr Zhang targets to sell electric buses to the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority and private mass-transit operators.
He said an electric bus would consume fuel costing only 1,000 baht per day, much lower than 5,000 baht and 3,000 baht respectively consumed by buses running on diesel and natural gas.
The company aims to sell 5,000 electric buses by 2018 in Thailand and Asean countries with an initial price of 15 million baht per vehicle.
The prototype buses will arrive from China before October for a test run in Bangkok.
Kwaithong has paid-up capital of 50 million baht and plans to raise its capital to 1 billion baht soon to finance the expansion.
The company is a subsidiary of Jiali (Thailand) Co, a distributor of agricultural equipment under the Kwaithong brand that is mainly made in China.
Mr Zhang, also chairman of Jiali, expects consolidated revenue to surge by 60% this year to 500 million baht.