Thailand, Indonesia to become new shining stars of EV business, says DIGITIMES Research

Evan Chen, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei 0


The EV supply chain in Southeast Asia has grown mature with Thailand and Indonesia becoming the major players in the ecosystem. With Thailand's subsidy policies helping boost local EV sales, many Chinese automakers including Great Wall Motor (GWM), SAIC Motor, and BYD are also planning to establish production lines in Thailand for making BEVs and should turn the country into a key EV market before 2030, according to DIGITIMES Research's study on Southeast Asia's EV industry.

Indonesia currently has a supply chain hub for nickel refining. With the battery core capacity developed jointly by state-owned Indonesia Battery (IBC), Korea-based LG Energy Solution (LGES), and China-based CATL to begin production in 2024, the Southeast Asian country will have a good chance to become an automotive battery production center for the region.

Thailand has been offering subsidies of THB70,000–150,000 (US$2,000–4,350) to BEVs that meet the qualifications since May 2022. In addition, with tariff and sale tax cuts, automakers are able to significantly narrow the price gap between BEVs and traditional gasoline vehicles, boosting local sales of BEVs. In the first two months of 2023, BEVs accounted for 6.2% of all new car sales in terms of volume, DIGITIMES Research's study shows.

At the moment, top-selling BEVs in Thailand are all made in China by automakers including BYD, GWM, SAIC, Hozon, and Tesla (supplied from the Shanghai plant).

Of the 32 automakers that make passenger or commercial vehicles or both, more than half of them are currently planning or are already volume-producing BEVs. Japan-based automakers, which occupied about 70% of Thailand's gasoline car market, however, are slower in the pacing of advance into the BEV territory compared to Chinese ones.

With Chinese automakers establishing capacity in Thailand to lower costs and boost their market shares in the region, their products are expected to be imported to other countries in Southeast Asia and even Pacific Asia at a later time.

Foxconn also recently formed a joint venture, Horizon Plus, with Thailand's state-owned oil company PTT Public. The car-making joint venture will complete the production lines' construction in 2023 and begin the assembly of automobiles in 2024.

Indonesia's nickel refining business has won investments from Germany-based BASF, France-based Eramet and US-based Ford. State-owned company IBC's partnership is expected to contribute an annual capacity of 50GWh by 2024. With an expectation of seeing more investments, the Indonesia government is eyeing to raise its annual battery production capacity to 140GWh by 2030.