FRIDAY, February 23, 2024

China plugs Thailand into its EV empire with launch of auto development hub

China plugs Thailand into its EV empire with launch of auto development hub

China has launched an automotive research centre in Thailand, boosting its ambition to become an electric vehicle (EV) development hub in the ASEAN region.

The China Automotive Technology and Research Centre (CATARC), China’s fourth global EV research centre, is launching in the wake of a flood of investment in Thailand by Chinese EV and battery makers.

CATARC will focus on EV policy development, standard-setting and certification, Nattapol Rangsitpol, permanent secretary of the Industry Ministry, said on Wednesday.

The collaboration will also connect China's sophisticated EV industry – the biggest in the world – with Thailand’s domestic industry and infrastructure to support its mission of becoming a global EV manufacturing hub, Nattapol said in a statement.

Thailand’s EV3.0 (2022-2023) promotion measures have attracted 10 automaking brands on the production side and over 50,000 EV bookings on the retail side. New EV3.5 measures will ramp up Thai ambitions to forge a global electric vehicle hub through 2027.

On the infrastructure front, the country has established more than 150 standards for EVs and provides testing and certification services through the Automotive Testing, Research, and Innovation Centre (ATTRIC). The infrastructure push is also focusing on workforce development and preparations for the transition to electric vehicles.

Thailand accounted for about 78% of all EV use in ASEAN in the first quarter of this year, the ministry said.

Thailand also led ASEAN production of EVs last year with around 72,000 vehicles.

Leading Chinese EV and battery manufacturers that have invested in Thailand as a manufacturing base include BYD, Changan Automobile, GSC Aion New Energy Automobile and Svolt Energy Technology.

Thailand is aiming to increase production of zero-emission vehicles to 30% of all autos produced by 2030, or 725,000 units.