By KINGSLEY WIJAYASINHA
Speaking at the launch of the |S-Class Coupe and Cabriolet, Grewe said Thailand has established itself as a major auto-producing country |and the government has supported eco-friendly vehicles with excise tax reductions.
“Right now Mercedes-Benz is offering PHEVs (Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicles) which can either be charged or operates without being charged since it also has an engine,” he said. “But for EVs, charging is mandatory.”
Grewe said EV owners would charge their vehicles at home or at the office, and there needs to be a special infrastructure to serve these vehicles.
During the first 7 months of this year, Mercedes-Benz sold more than 8,600 vehicles in Thailand, an increase of 9 per cent compared to the same period last year. Sales of hybrids and plug-ins from Mercedes grew by 40 per cent during this period, while sales of AMG models surged by 250 per cent, thanks to local assembly and the appointment of special AMG dealers.
Mercedes-Benz is currently building a battery plant in Thailand, which is scheduled for operations in 2019 . The facility will supply batteries to all hybrid vehicles assembled by the German auto maker here. It is the company’s 6th battery production base worldwide. Meanwhile, Nissan says it will officially launch the LEAF EV in Thailand within the current fiscal year, although the car was first shown to public at the end of last year.
Nissan Motor Thailand Co Ltd president Antoine Barthes said last week that before the launch of LEAF, th compay must be sure that all supporting services are in place.
“It may seem like we are postponing the launch of the LEAF, but actually behind the scenes we are working very hard to get the whole EV ownership experience package ready,” he said.
According to Barthes, driving an EV is more than changing a car, but it will result in a new lifestyle, similar to the effect of smartphones.