We have revised our electric vehicle (EV) sales forecast for Thailand substantially higher in light of a much better than expected first-half performance, with EV sales totalling 49,319, exceeding our original full-year outlook.
We now forecast sales to increase by 151% to reach 80,700 units, compared with a previous prediction of 20.7% growth.
Although we generally anticipate a contraction in total vehicle sales, we forecast EV sales to rise rapidly as favourable incentives keep demand elevated.
This will push Thailand's EV penetration rate (EVs as a percentage of total vehicle sales) to 8.7% in 2023, a meaningful increase from 3.8% in 2022.
Over our 2023-32 forecast period, we forecast the EV penetration rate to reach 14.5% by 2032 and EV sales to tally 162,571 units, with an average annual growth rate of 22.6%.
The Thai government granted further investment privileges for EV production, which will result in lower prices for consumers. The following incentives are available:
- A reduction of up to 40% on import duties for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) valued at less than 2 million baht, and a further reduction of 20% for BEVs that are priced between 2 million and 7 million baht.
- Subsidies ranging between 70,000 and 150,000 baht for EV purchases depending on battery capacity.
- E-motorcycle purchases are eligible for an 18,000-baht subsidy.
- In February, the National Committee on EV Policy agreed in principle on a proposal to reduce the excise tax on EV batteries from 8% to 1%, while providing subsidies of 24 billion baht to the EV battery-producing industry.
The current EV 3.0 promotional scheme expires in December. An estimated 3 billion baht is being sought for "EV 3.5" promotions in 2024.
If the subsidies are not renewed, we forecast EV sales in 2024 will rise by only 1.4% from this year.
The continuation of the incentives will result in an upward revision in our forecast.
Under the proposed EV 3.5 policy, the government is expected to subsidise EVs at a rate of roughly 100,000 baht per vehicle and will mandate car makers set up EV manufacturing facilities in Thailand proportional to the number of imported EVs.
Isuzu Motors is scheduled to launch its first electric pickup in Thailand in 2025, as the Japanese automaker seeks to maintain its dominance in a market where Chinese automakers are taking the lead in cultivating demand for EVs.
The truck is expected to be the first electric version of the D-Max model that is made in Thailand.
Isuzu controls about half of the Thai market for pickups, which account for more than 40% of total auto sales.
Thai Smile Bus aims to become the biggest operator of electric buses in Bangkok. The privately owned company plans to almost double the number of electric buses in its fleet of 3,100 and extend its reach to 122 routes.
In the first quarter this year, 1,250 of the company's electric buses operated on 71 routes across the capital.
Thailand's EV fleet is set to increase rapidly as adoption accelerates. We forecast the EV fleet to reach around 100,000 units this year and grow nine-fold to 900,000 units by 2032.
We expect EV fleet units to make up 0.6% of total vehicle fleets this year, rising to 3.6% by 2032.
According to the Electric Vehicle Association of Thailand, Thailand had 1,482 public charging stations as of June 2023, implying there are far too few stations at a time of rapid EV adoption. This could result in willing buyers delaying their EV purchasing decisions as range anxiety concerns are a dealbreaker for many.
PTT Oil & Retail Business Plc plans to install 7,000 charging stations by 2030, up from 139 as of January 2023. PTT operates 2,500 petrol filling stations, which will be the foundation for its entry into EV charging.
This commentary is published by BMI – A Fitch Solutions Company, and is not a comment on Fitch Ratings' Credit Ratings