SET-listed Energy Absolute Plc (EA), a renewable energy developer and operator, has teamed up with Rajamangala University of Technology Isan (RMUTI) to produce university graduates with new technological skills to serve EA-run battery and electric vehicle (EV) production facilities in Chachoengsao.
EA's 6-billion-baht battery factory began operating in June and an EV assembly plant, valued at 1.8 billion baht, is also operating.
EA chief executive Somphote Ahunai said Thailand needs to develop human resources to enhance competitiveness in the EV industry, one of 12 industries to drive the Thai economy over the coming decades.
He said students should be introduced to modern technology in the automotive industry and became adept at using it in order to help Thailand maintain its status as the "Detroit of Asia", following years of serving as a major car production site.
The company did not unveil how many university graduates with EV and battery production knowledge it wants under the cooperation.
EA's battery factory will start with the production of one gigawatt-hour lithium-ion batteries, part of its full production capacity of 50 gigawatt hours per year.
The company already received orders to produce 1,000 electric buses this year.
EA and RMUTI signed an online memorandum of understanding on the development of students' skills in a ceremony joined by RMUTI council president Surakiart Sathirathai.
Mr Surakiart, a former deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister, said he views the cooperation with EA as a step towards new economic development and a low carbon society.
The cooperation on human re‑ sources development in the clean energy sector is also in line with the university's policy to become a green campus offering education that promotes sustainable development.
Mr Somphote also lauded the state policy to promote the EV industry.
"The EV policy suits Thailand because it will lead to production of cars with higher efficiency, less oil dependence and reduction of micro-dust [emitted by ageing internal combustion engines] in the air," he said.
The EV industry will also offer indirect benefits to tourism and medical businesses in the long term, thanks to better air quality.
EA has invested more than 20 billion baht over the past six years to develop its battery and EV businesses, focusing on assembling mass transport vehicles.