Thailand strengthened its position as a major Asian car manufacturing hub with an agreement between the government and Toyota Motor on incentives to promote the use of electric vehicles (EVs).
The Federation of Thai Industries says there are about 260,000 EVs registered in Thailand and the Finance ministry expects about 20,000 units to be sold this year, just a fraction of total cars on the streets.
But that figure could rise if incentives such as tax breaks and subsidies help make EVs cheaper, the ministry said in a statement.
Similar agreements have also been signed with Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor and with SAIC-CP Motor, the Thai unit of SAIC Motor Corp, the ministry said.
But Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, Thailand’s finance minister, said the deal with Toyota, Thailand’s largest car producer, will be “a leap” for the use of EVs in the country as consumers were waiting for major carmakers to join the scheme.
Toyota is considering launching its bZ4X EV model in Thailand later this year, said Noriaki Yamashita, president of Toyota Motor Thailand, which commands about a third of the kingdom’s vehicle market.
At least five more automakers are expected to join the EV support scheme this year, the ministry said.
Thailand will continue to introduce measures to support EVs to maintain its status as Southeast Asia’s biggest and the world’s 11th largest auto production base, Arkhom said.
The government is targeting the production of 725,000 EV units a year, or 30% of the output by 2030.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell