Known for being a tourist hub and being the party circuit of the world, Thailand also has a very clear and present threat from rising pollution levels which threaten to not just keep tourists away but also endanger lives of locals. In a bold move to take on this imminent threat, the country has now decided to ensure that 30% of all cars locally made would be electric by the end of this decade.
(Also read: Increased focus on EVs offers both shock and support to Thailand's auto sector)
Thailand is determined to jump the electric bandwagon and wants to not just ensure EV adoption goes up significantly but that the cost of acquiring one is also kept under check. For this, local production may be key and it has been realized that quickening the pace of battery-powered vehicles' production within the country could help with keeping costs down while also helping the economy.
The Thai government is already planning a number of measures like tax benefits and parking discounts for owners of an EV while contemplating investment incentives for OEMs and adopting EVs in the official fleet. And although vehicular emissions are comparatively smaller part of the problem in a country where crop burning and/or forest fires are largely blamed for the high levels of pollution, it is being widely seen as a crucial step to ensure cleaner air nonetheless.
Some of the key players who could help Thailand charge towards its goal of boosting EV production are Nissan, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. EV proveleges have already been granted to these car makers in the country. Measures such as an eight-year corporate income tax waiver for battery electric vehicle makers, a three-year tax holiday for manufacturers of plug-in hybrid vehicles - among others - could act as a catalyst.
Cars, motorbikes and buses powered by battery are likely to be the main thrust sectors in a country where sales of conventional vehicles tanked 26% in 2020.
(With inputs from Bloomberg)