Newly appointed Industry Minister Pimphattra Wichaikul pledges to step up efforts to pass a new electric vehicle (EV) incentive package to develop the fledging Thai industry, hoping to win approval from the Pheu Thai-led coalition government.
The existing package of incentives, including tax cuts and subsidies, is meant to promote EV consumption and production between 2022 and 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.
Ms Pimphattra promised to make a new EV incentive package a ministry priority, as manufacturers are eager to know whether the new government will continue or adjust EV promotions initiated during the Prayut Chan-o-cha administration.
She said the Industry Ministry is preparing to discuss EV incentives with state agencies, including the Energy Ministry, as well as the business sector as soon as possible.
"We expect Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin will form a new National EV Policy Committee to work on a new EV incentive package, which should stimulate investment, especially from foreign companies," said Ms Pimphattra.
The former National EV Policy Committee announced in 2021 it wanted EVs to constitute 50% of locally made vehicles by 2030, part of an ambitious plan to make Thailand a regional EV hub.
The new minister expects the government to launch the incentive package within the last quarter of this year.
"The EV industry will become a new 'bullet' helping Thailand achieve its goal to strengthen its economy in the long term," she said.
The next-generation car industry is among 12 S-curve sectors the preceding government aimed to develop in the Eastern Economic Corridor, which spans parts of Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao provinces.
According to the Federation of Thai Industries, total car production is expected to tally 1.9 million units this year, with 1.05 million allotted for export.
Ms Pimphattra said she also plans to work on new measures to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) wade through economic challenges to grow their businesses amid rising operating costs.
"We know SMEs need support from the government through various measures, including new stimulus packages," she said.
Many SMEs are still reeling from the economic impact of the pandemic and struggling to deal with liquidity problems as they cannot easily obtain loans from banks.