Thailand phasing out combustion engines, pushing to have only EVs as new cars in 2035

Thailand, the largest automotive market in the ASEAN region with Indonesia a very close second, is setting up an ambitious plan to only offer electric vehicles (EV) as new vehicles from 2035, completely phasing out the internal combustion engine, five years earlier than Singapore!

The report from Bloomberg highlights now that the country has set a target for phasing out vehicles with combustion engines, the next step for the government will be to facilitate the transition.

Kawin Thangsupanich, an adviser to Energy Ministry’s national policy committee, said the government must press hard on the development of strategies to build more charging infrastructure, implement favourable tax incentives, regulations as well as promote manufacturing of EVs.

The target, that is only 14 over years away, is incredibly ambitious for the nation that registers over 1 million units of new vehicles annually, of which, half are commercial vehicles such as pick-up trucks powered by diesel engines.

Battery EVs currently make up less than 1% of cars in Thailand, with just 2,202 units sold last year. Hybrid vehicles, both self-charging and plug-in charging, fare much better, registering over 178,000 units in 2020, a growth in sales given the disruption following the global pandemic.

By the end of 2025, Thailand hopes to have 25% of new vehicles sold are zero local emissions, with the figure increasing to 50% by the end of this decade, up from 30% previously proposed.

In a separate report by the Bangkok Post, total production of EVs consisting of both cars and pick-up trucks is estimated to be 400,000 units by 2025, and see an exponential jump to under 3 million units in just five years, supporting the plan to have 50% of new cars to be EV in 2030.  

With the idea of 100% of new vehicles sold being an EV, the automotive industry in Thailand expects to have produced a cumulative of 8.6 million cars and pick-ups by 2035.

As the supply of many components and sub-assemblies of vehicles come from Thailand, this bold plan will surely affect us all in the ASEAN region. Could this also mean the first electric-powered pick-up truck could be released as soon as 2025?  


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