Thailand eases EV restrictions to attract European manufacturers


The caretaker Cabinet on Tuesday approved changes aimed at making it easier for European and other foreign manufacturers of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to set up production in Thailand.

The two amendments to the EV3.5 promotion package offer more flexibility in the requirement for foreign manufacturers to offset imports to Thailand with an equal number of BEV units manufactured here.

The first change covers BEVs with up to 10 seats, battery capacity of over 10kw per hour and a suggested retail price (SRP) under 2 million baht.

Importation of these units can now be offset by domestic manufacturing of pickup trucks or any BEV unit of the same size, capacity and SRP.

The second change covers BEVs of 30kWh-plus and SRP of 2-7 million baht. Imports of these units can now be offset by domestic production of the same model but in any series.

The changes are expected to entice foreign manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW by giving them the flexibility to produce electric pickup trucks – which are popular in Thailand – as alternatives to EV cars. They should also benefit EV manufacturers that have frequent model/series changes in their production line.

The caretaker Cabinet could approve the changes since they did not require any supporting budget.

Thailand is offering a raft of incentives to buyers, importers and manufacturers as part of its goal to become a global EV manufacturing hub.

The Cabinet also acknowledged the following EV Board promotions for EV investments.

On the supply side, the Office of the Board of Investment (BOI) approved promotions for 15 projects with a total investment value of 27.7 billion baht for BEV production and 77 projects with a total investment value of 18.4 billion baht for EV component production. Also, four projects with a total investment value of 2.17 billion baht for electric charging stations were approved, consisting of 5,076 regular-charging stations and 3,960 quick-charging stations.

On the demand side, the Department of Industrial Works has established measures to support the use of EV cars and motorcycles. The 12 participating businesses covered include nine car and pickup manufacturers (GWM, Toyota, SAIC-Motor, MG, BYD, Mercedes-Benz, NETA, Mine, and Green Filter) and three motorcycle manufacturers (Honda, DECO, and HSEM). Also, the Budget Bureau has set guidelines for state agencies to procure and lease EVs to replace its old combustion engine vehicles.

On the infrastructure side, the Office of Industrial Standards has established 123 standards for electric vehicles, components, and related equipment to ensure reliable and safe use of EVs and electric charging stations on par with international standards. Testing services for vehicles, tyres, and electric vehicle batteries are provided according to UN R100 and UN R136 standards at the Automotive and Tyre Testing, Research and Innovation Centre (ATTRIC) located in the Eastern Economic Corridor in Chachoengsao province.