OR targets green shoppers with EV chargers
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OR targets green shoppers with EV chargers

Firm has big electric vehicle ambitions

A model of an EV charging station OR plans to build at shopping malls.
A model of an EV charging station OR plans to build at shopping malls.

PTT Oil and Retail Business (OR) plans to strengthen its electric vehicle (EV) operations by installing more charging outlets at department stores to serve diners and shoppers.

The charging outlets under the PluZ brand are slated for installation at Fashion Island shopping centre, the Promenade and Terminal 21.

The new charging facilities -- two in Bangkok and another two in Pattaya and Nakhon Ratchasima -- are scheduled to start operations in the third quarter of this year.

The move is part of OR's ambition to expand its EV infrastructure to 450 charging outlets by the end of this year, up from 106 at present.

The company, which operates charging outlets at its petrol stations and shopping malls, expects to have 7,000 outlets by 2030.

The budget for EV charging business expansion was not disclosed, but it is part of total capital spending worth 74.6 billion baht to be allocated over the next five years. A portion of the capital spending comes from funds raised by the company's initial public offering.

Offering EV charging outlets at department stores is in line with consumer lifestyles, with mall visits a favourite activity along with a growing interest in clean energy, said Phichin Aphiwantanaporn, OR's senior executive vice-president for finance.

OR developed a mobile app called "PTT Station PluZ" that allows EV drivers to manage charger bookings. This can help control traffic at EV charging stations and reduce wait times, he said.

The company is also working with Thailand Post and Mitsubishi Motors Thailand on a trial study using EVs for postal and parcel transport. The collaboration is aimed at expanding the functions of EVs, part of efforts to make OR a leader in EV ecosystem development.

OR focuses on partnerships to help it grow new non-oil businesses, said Mr Phichin.

The company already invested in six startups -- Pomelo, GoWabi, Freshket, Carsome, Protomate and Hangry -- through its subsidiary Orzon Ventures to develop new S-curve businesses in mobility, lifestyle products and service segments.

On the retail front, OR recently launched a multi-brand store called "Your Space" that offers online sellers physical space for rent to showcase their products to enhance shoppers' experience, he said. Despite the rise of online shopping, physical stores can help raise brand awareness and generate more sales, said Mr Phichin.

In the first quarter this year, OR's revenue gained 12.3% to 177 billion baht, due mainly to rising global oil prices. Its net profit rose by 63% to 3.84 billion baht.

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