New incentives put focus on trucks

New incentives put focus on trucks

Perks for battery cell producers too

A demo of an electric vehicle charging station at the Fast Auto Show Thailand & EV Expo 2023. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
A demo of an electric vehicle charging station at the Fast Auto Show Thailand & EV Expo 2023. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

The National Electric Vehicle Policy Committee (EV Board) on Wednesday approved incentives to motivate companies to transition their commercial fleets of large trucks and buses to battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

The committee also endorsed cash grants for EV battery cell manufacturers.

The two incentives should expand support for the EV ecosystem and reinforce Thailand's status as an EV manufacturing hub, said Narit Therdsteerasukdi, secretary-general of the Board of Investment and secretary of the EV Board.

"The newly endorsed incentives will complement the previously implemented EV3 and EV3.5 initiatives for the passenger car sector, with an emphasis this time on large commercial vehicles," said Mr Narit.

"We believe this will significantly increase the adoption of electric trucks and buses, reduce pollution from the transport and manufacturing sectors, and support business efforts to reach their net-zero targets."

Thailand is the top automotive producer in Southeast Asia and ranks in the top 10 globally for auto production and total auto exports, he said.

In terms of EVs, Mr Narit said Thailand is the first country in Southeast Asia to offer special incentives for the entire supply side and demand side, as well as set a clear target under the "30@30" policy for at least 30% of the cars produced in Thailand be EVs by 2030.

Support for the use of electric buses and trucks comprises a tax deduction granted to eligible companies, effective until Dec 31, 2025.

Companies buying vehicles manufactured domestically can deduct expenses of two times the actual price of the vehicles, without a price ceiling. For purchases of imported vehicles, the deduction is 1.5 times the vehicle price.

The Prime Minister, centre, chaired the meeting of the National Electric Vehicle Policy Committee yesterday.

Large EVs eligible for the incentives include electric trucks for commercial use such as container trucks, liquid trucks, hazardous substance trucks, special trucks and tow trucks, as well as electric buses, both air-conditioned and open-air versions.

The meeting also approved a plan to promote the local production of battery cells for EVs and energy storage systems (ESS), providing financial support via the Competitiveness Enhancement Fund.

Other possible benefits are available under the Competitiveness Enhancement Act for companies that meet the criteria, he said.

To qualify for investment promotion under this scheme, companies must meet the following criteria: (1) be a leading and well-recognised battery manufacturer providing batteries to EV makers; (2) have a clear plan to produce battery cells for batteries used in EVs, and if possible to produce battery cells for batteries used in ESS; (3) the batteries must have a high energy density of at least 150 watt-hours per kilogramme; (4) the battery must have a life cycle of at least 1,000 cycles, counting from 70% of the nominal capacity at a depth of discharge of at least 80% at a test temperature of 20-25° C.

Interested companies must submit their investment project proposals by the end of 2027.

"The measures to promote investment in the production of battery cells, a key element of the supply chain, will help ensure the sustainability and resilience of our EV ecosystem," Mr Narit said.

People check out the latest EVs at last year's Bangkok International Motor Expo held in November. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

The measures approved yesterday require final consideration and approval by the cabinet prior to implementation.

In a related development, the EV Board meeting also acknowledged an updated report on EV3 measures to promote the use of electric passenger cars.

From the inception of the scheme in 2022 to Jan 31, 2024, a total of 78,554 electric cars and pickups from 14 manufacturers and importers of BEVs have been registered.

These vehicles are entitled to excise tax discounts and subsidies.

In accordance with the stipulations of the EV3 scheme, participating companies are required to produce at least one vehicle in Thailand for each vehicle they import.

A model replica represents an EV engine at last year's Bangkok International Motor Expo held in November. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

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