THAILAND has strong potential to succeed in developing an electric vehicle (EV) industry as one of the country’s new growth sectors due to its existing position in the global automotive market, according to Dick Hsieh, president of Delta Electronics (Thailand).
Delta, whose 2016 worldwide sales of mainly power supply products, amounted to US$1.35 billion, has started production of power supply equipment for electric vehicles in Thailand.
“At present, sales of EV products are still small, accounting for less than US$100 million per year. Our customers include Tesla of the US, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and the like,” Hsieh said.
“We expect the global market for EVs to take off around 2025 when Scandinavian and some other countries will no longer allow the sales of diesel and petrol vehicles in their domestic markets.
“By 2030, Germany will have the same policy largely due to environmental reasons, especially global warming effects from the use of fossil-fuel combustion engines.”
He said electric vehicles were expected to cut carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 25 per cent.
“Some big cities, such as Beijing, are also moving towards this direction in order to address the air quality problem,” Hsieh said.
“By 2020, China is expected to have EVs accounting for 3 per cent of the total sales of new vehicles. By 2025, EVs should rise to 10 per cent of the total sales.
“Overall, the global market of vehicles is projected to top 98 million units in 2020 and EVs are projected to account for 30-40 per cent of total sales in 2030.
“Thailand has a good opportunity because it is a major production base for automobiles, currently ranked the world’s 12th largest producer, especially for right-hand-drive vehicles. The current annual output is more than two million units per year - over half of which are exported.”
Hsieh said the government would need to come up with financial incentives for consumers to switch to electric vehicles in Thailand.
“The challenge is to attract newcomers in the global EV industry. Tesla, the US EV giant, may go for China due to the bigger Chinese domestic market,” he said.
“In terms of incentives for consumers, the US state of California has offered cost-saving tax incentives of as much as US$7,000 to $8,000 per EV. It also has provided free EV charging facilities.
“In Thailand, Mercedes and BMW have also planned to open a number of charging stations at shopping malls and residential condos to promote current models of plug-in hybrid cars.”
Hsieh said that for the mass market, the government should focus on 1.2-1.6-litre electric vehicles as well as electric buses.
“The Ministry of Energy is also promoting the opening of 150 charging stations nationwide,” he said.
In a bid to promote new industries as part of Thailand’s 4.0 modernisation programme, the government has identified 10 potentially high-growth industries.
These industries include electric and other modern vehicles, smart electronics, agri and bio-tech, food processing, medical and health tourism, robotics, aviation and logistics, bio-fuels and bio-chemicals, as well as integrative medicine, and digitalisation.