Thailand, one of the major automotive hubs in Southeast Asia, made a huge announcement. It seems the Detroit of Asia will stop selling gas- and diesel-powered cars in the not-so-distant future. By 2035, Thailand aims to sell only zero-emissions vehicles, seeking to transform itself as a hub for making electric cars.
According to Kawin Thangsupanich, Secretary to Thailand’s Energy Ministry, the world is heading towards an EV future, and they want Thailand to capture that growth post-pandemic. They have even outlined plans for electric vehicle (EV) and battery production.
“We can see the world is heading in that direction so we have to move quickly. We want to capture that growth post-pandemic, and we have the ambition to be the production center because we already have the existing supply chains,” said Thangsupanich.
Thailand plans to increase tax incentives to encourage EV ownership and building more EV-related infrastructures like charging stations. In addition, they will be developing regulations that will promote the production of both EVs and batteries. The country has also set a target of having EVs make up 50% of all new car registrations by the end of the decade, up from the 30% they initially planned.
But why is this big news for us here in the Philippines? Thailand’s recent announcement means it could directly affect the local auto industry. Some of the best-selling models sold here in the country come from Thailand. Some of these include the Ford Everest/Ranger, Toyota Hilux, Isuzu D-Max/mu-X, Nissan Navara/Terra, and the Honda City.
Theoretically speaking, Thailand could still manufacture cars with internal combustion engines. However, they will not be able to sell them domestically and could instead be exported to other countries still, including the Philippines.
Nonetheless, this announcement will have a significant impact on the region's motoring landscape. It might also be the catalyst that could make electric cars a more mainstream option here. But before that happens, we must see changes in the power grid, infrastructure, and even the public's mindset towards EVs.