Author Topic: Electric vehicles on the fast track in Thailand  (Read 279 times)

Offline Newsy

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Electric vehicles on the fast track in Thailand
« on: September 20, 2018, 12:24:08 AM »

Electric vehicles on the fast track in Thailand

 EXPERTS see bright prospects for electric vehicles (EV) in Thailand with all concerned agencies pursuing the government’s goal of getting 1.2 million units on the road by 2036.

There are many reasons and data behind the confidence of success, a seminar was told yesterday.

The rising number of registered EVs, the development of a locally made EVs, as well as research and development of some EV parts are indications that it could have a major role in Thai society, said Amonrat Kaewpradap, a committee member of the Electric Vehicle Association of Thailand (EVAT), at a panel discussion yesterday titled “The future of Electric Vehicle in Thailand”.

The discussion was held as part of the Delta Future Industry Summit, organised by Delta Electronics (Thailand), as a venue for exchanging innovative ideas for a sustainable future.

Amornrat said the number of EVs in use in Thailand was gradually increasing, leading to the continuous growth of infrastructure of charging stations.

“More stations will boost the confidence for consumers in using EVs and so far, there are 500 charging stations in the country, she said.

She pointed out that the accumulated number of EV registrations in Thailand for Battery Electric Vehicles [BEV] and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) sharply increased from 2016 to 2017.

In 2016, there were 80,194 registrations but the number surged to 102,700 in 2017, or an increase of 20,000 units.

Incentives will bring down price

Another indication is the higher imports of EVs, she said, adding that more BEV motorcycles were sold these days, pointing to its popularity.

Moreover, EV manufacturers are hiking production amid increasing demand from buyers.

Also, educational institutions have launched development projects for EV battery, motors and the structure of a light-weight car.

She believes the price of EVs could come down in the future as the government will support its usage with incentives.

Jumpote Himacharoen, director of research and development, Metropolitan Electricity Authority [MEA], said the power agency would provide sufficient electricity to serve the targeted number of EVs.

MEA has recently launched an online application on the locations of EV charging stations for the convenience of drivers.

In a separate panel discussion titled “A Decade into the Future: Predictions for Thai Cities”, participants said smart cities would be the cornerstone of the country’s future urban landscape, with significant investment from the government and private sector.

Pansak Siriruchatapong, the vice minister of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, said the government would expand its smart city project to three more provinces – Chon Buri, Rayong and Chaochengsao – on the Eastern Economic Corridor this year.

Currently, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen and Bangkok are the cities earmarked for the pilot programme.

“Within the next five years, Thailand will develop smart cities in all 77 provinces,” he said.

He added the two factors driving the development of smart cities are the engagement of community and local government and the connectivity and sharing information with technology solutions.

However, Piyapan Tayanithi, Bangkok Bank’s executive vice president, warned that smart or high-technology is a double-edged sword, and back-up measures were needed in the event of malfunctions.

Piyapan cited an incident late last month when banks’ electronic money transfers, withdrawals and payment services crashed for several hours.

The banks attributed the cause to heavy interbank money transfers at the end of the month at large banks.

“Simplicity or convenience of a group of people could come along with difficulty or complexity for another group [of people],” he said.

 Hsieh Shen-yen, president of Delta Electronics (Thailand), said: “We are currently witnessing the decline of old technologies such as gasoline cars and the gradual shift to smarter, cleaner technologies to power our lives and manage our cities.

“But the shift to the future will only gain real momentum when the public and private sectors work together and get serious about action for climate change and managing urbanisation,” he said.

Offline Newsy

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Re: Long road ahead for full Electric Vehicles
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2018, 12:10:07 PM »

Long road ahead for full Electric Vehicles

While hybrids and plugins hybrids have been gaining ground, 100percent EVs have been slowed down by lack of infrastructure and high pricing

THAILAND has enthusiastically adopted electric vehicles over the past few years but reaching a critical mass is unlikely until 2025 when EVs are projected to take a more than 10 per cent market share.

Many green consumers remain discouraged by the exorbitant EV prices, unclear safety and other issues. The cheapest imported 100 per cent EV still costs nearly Bt2 million due to high import duties while locally assembled models are not yet available.

 In addition, some Thais were shocked by images of a recent accidental fire at a Bangkok home where a Porsche plug-in hybrid EV was badly damaged during an overnight charging.

Another issue is the availability of public charging facilities outside Bangkok, since the latest versions of 100 per cent EVs currently have a maximum driving range of only about 400-500 kilometres

 Overall, Thai consumers are now more comfortable with hybrid EVs and plug-in hybrid EVs which still have internal combustion engines using petrol along with large batteries, while the adoption of 100 per cent EVs, which have no such engines, is still in the very early stage.

At present, there are more than 100,000 HEVs and PHEVs on the road in Thailand. but the number of 100 per cent EVs is quite small.

All EVs are subject to an import duty of 80 per cent based on cost, insurance and freight, while another 8-10 per cent excise tax is levied on the retail price, compared to an excise duty of 30-35 per cent levied on combustible engine vehicles.

For PHEVs (plug-in hybrid EVs), the excise duty is 10 per cent so a few automakers have set up local assembly lines for these vehicles.

BMW, for instance, is highly involved in electrified vehicles at the domestic level. Apart from offering locally assembled PHEV models for the 3, 5 and 7 Series in addition to the X5 (it also imports the i8 hybrid sports car), the German automaker also works with the King Mongkut Institute of Technology Thon Buri campus in terms of technology transfer.

“Sales of our PHEV models grew by as much as 269 per cent last year,” said Krisda Utamote, corporate communications director at BMW Group Thailand Ltd.

“And this year, from January to July, PHEV sales have grown by 59 per cent.”

According to Krisda, BMW will start producing high-performance lithium-ion batteries for PHEVs in Thailand in 2019.

The batteries are to be supplied to PHEV models assembled here, but could also be used for fully electric battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in the future if BMW decides to assemble one here.

While electric technology may seem like a feature for luxury cars – BMW 330e is priced at Bt2.32 million compared to Bt2.22 million for the non-electric 320d – it is available in lower price ranges as well.

The Toyota C-HR Hybrid, for example, is more affordable, retailing from Bt1.069 million to Bt1.159 million.

Nissan, the largest producer of electric cars in the world, is also expecting to offer its LEAF BEV in Thailand soon, with retail pricing expected to be in the Bt1-million-plus range.

But one thing that all manufacturers taking part in the electric vehicle race agree, is that the Thai government needs to provide more encouragement to users of electrified vehicles. Such encouragements could include buyer incentives such as more access to public charging infrastructures and parking privileges.

Earlier this year, Michael Grewe, president of Mercedes-Benz (Thailand) Ltd, said in order to ensure a smooth transition to EV (Electric Vehicle) use in Thailand, the government needs to make sure that there is adequate infrastructure to serve users.

Grewe said: “Right now we [Mercedes-Benz] are offering PHEVs which can be charged and that is good. But it can also operate without being charged [since it has an engine],” he said. “But for EVs, charging is mandatory.”

 He said EV owners would charge their vehicles at home or at the office, and there needs to be special infrastructure to serve these vehicles.

Mercedes-Benz is also building a lithium-ion battery plant, to be operational next year. The German automaker states that by 2022, as much as 30 per cent of its product line-up would be electrified.

Both Mercedes and BMW are busy equipping charging equipment at venues where customers are expected to show up, such as shopping centres, hotels and service centres.

As the number of PHEVs and EVs grow in Thailand, customers also need to adapt to the change in lifestyle, similar to what has happened with smartphones of today, which require battery charging.

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Re: Carmakers brace for shocks as electrified future looms
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2018, 12:15:02 AM »

Carmakers brace for shocks as electrified future looms

Auto industry executives gathering this week for the Paris Motor Show will be rubbing shoulders with unusual company: dozens of tech experts eager to tackle what many consider the ultimate connected device.

Electric vehicles are the stars of this year's show, with premium brands like Mercedes and Audi finally jumping into the fray, but the promise of self-driving cars is also on display with dozens of start-ups on hand.

"Each of these new cars requires 100 million lines of code: That's five to six times more than in a Boeing," Luc Chatel, head of the French auto industry association, told executives on Monday.

The enthusiasm for the electrified revolution is partly out of necessity, as regulators and local officials try to cut down on the smog chocking many large cities.

In Europe, carmakers are racing to comply with tough EU limits on CO2 emissions that take effect by 2021, and the introduction of tougher emission testing standards in the wake of the "dieselgate" cheating scandal.

After investing billions of dollars in new batteries despite a still-uncertain payoff, companies are also betting that electric cars will help their bottom lines.

More reliable and with fewer moving parts than combustion engines, electric motors require far fewer workers to install and service.

But industry chiefs know they won't be able to develop the full potential of an electrified, always-connected future on their own.

Google, Nokia and French IT specialist Atos are among the tech groups sending staff to the Paris show with pledges to help automakers navigate their industry's seismic shift.

"Obviously every company would love to do everything by themselves," Carlos Ghosn, head of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, said in a keynote address Monday.

"There is an explosion around the services of mobility, where carmakers are going to play a role, in partnership with others," he added, predicting that "we're going to see in the Motor Show less and less car companies."

Ghosn expects his group to sell 14 million cars by the end of 2022, of which 10% will be all-electric.

Steep prices, uncertain future

But joining with tech companies means ceding part of the profit, not exactly a welcome prospect for an industry just recently back on a stronger footing after years of bailouts for many in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis.

Automakers are also grappling with lithium-ion battery costs that keep electric vehicle prices well above those of traditional cars -- the new models are still loss-makers for most companies.

Mike David, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence, forecast that prices would not come down to competitive levels until 2025.

And with new technologies comes the chance for upstarts to jump in: Tesla's market value is greater than that of Renault and PSA combined despite production snafus and recent blunders by its flamboyant founder Elon Musk.

Adding to the headwinds are changing consumer tastes: More people now live in urban centres where alternative modes of transport from cycling to scooters are flourishing amid the zero-emission zeal.

Many no longer see the need for owning a car, electric or not.

"Single-use vehicles are wasteful," said Ian Simmons of Magna International, a parts maker specialising in "green mobility".

Car-sharing and ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft -- which are racing ahead with their own autonomous driving research -- will require heavy tech investments in cars and city infrastructure, he said.

But with Audi and Mercedes showing off all-electric SUVs this week -- shortly after Ferrari announced an ambitious plan for hybrids -- more buyers might be convinced their performance has caught up with combustion engines.

"Their arrival also dispels any doubts over battery or quality issues," JATO analyst Felipe Munoz wrote in a research note.

The Paris Motor Show opens to the public on Thursday and runs until Oct 14.