Thailand has been one of the largest automobile manufacturing hubs in Asia, but whether or not it can successfully transform to build, sell, and export EVs remains a challenge.
According to Bloomberg, Thailand has had a substantial supply chain for combustion engine cars. The challenge for Thailand is to have EV batteries made locally – Thailand's Excise Department director-general Ekniti Nitithanprapas stated that since battery is the most expensive component in an EV, the government will aim to set up EV battery supply chain locally to lower the selling price of EVs.
The Thai government has recently approved considerable subsidies for electric vehicle (EV) and considered subsidizing EV batteries to make EVs more affordable and to expedite shift to EVs.
On the supply side, the Excise Department said on October 31 that it is mulling subsidizing battery production and battery recycling. According to the Bangkok Post, the Thai government might subsidize the whole process of production from sourcing raw materials to battery assembly or subsidize the battery end-products.
On the demand side, the Thai government approved nearly THB3 billion (US$81.4 million) of subsidies for retail EVs. Depending on the type and the retail price of the vehicle, carmakers are eligible for retail subsidies of THB18,000-150,000 (US$488-4,070), according to the Bangkok Post. The subsidy program is expected to kick in during the first quarter of 2023.
Large OEMs including Toyota, Nissan, BYD, Great Wall Motors (GWM), SAIC, Daimler, and more have begun producing EVs in Thailand. The southeast Asian country's goal for the EV shift is to reach 30% of production by 2030, which is around 600,000-700,000 units.