Thai Energy Pioneer is shifting its EV Strategy Focus from Passenger Cars to Buses

The Bangkok-based firm plans its first shipment of 120 buses this month to a company that operates several routes in the Thai capital. (Representational image) (AFP)
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The Bangkok-based firm plans its first shipment of 120 buses this month to a company that operates several routes in the Thai capital. (Representational image) (AFP)

Highlights

The Thai Energy Absolute Pcl now wants to shift its EV strategy away from passenger cars to have more focus on buses, trains and trucks, so that it can capitalize on growing demand as the nation phases out combustion engines

The Thai Energy Absolute Pcl now wants to shift its EV strategy away from passenger cars to have more focus on buses, trains and trucks, so that it can capitalize on growing demand as the nation phases out combustion engines.

The Bangkok firm now plans its 1st shipment of 120 buses this month, to company which operates numerous routes in the Thai capital, as per the Deputy Chief Executive officer Amorn Sapthaweekful. It also aims to deliver nearing to 600 buses by the end of this year. The 29-seater Mine Bus, tends to have maximum speed of about 80 kilometers per hour (50 miles per hour).

Energy Absolute earlier planned to sell Electric passenger cars via its subsidiary Mine Mobility, which unveiled its SPA1 model in the year 2019, but it has not delivered any. Due to Corona Pandemic nearing 3500 cars were cancelled by a group of taxi unions as their income dried as pandemic being the reason for crushed tourism.

Amorn stated, we are not discarding our passenger cars, but we need to assess the market. Competition is hotting up in Thailand's EV Sector, with the likes of China's Great Wall Motor Ltd, it is planning to start local production by the year, 2023. The state-owned PTT pcl and Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Group have stated in May, they would collaborate on hardware and software for Evs.

If we jump into that market now, we will not be able to survive, Amorn stated that, once we are able to build our brand reputation and once people tend to trust in our brand, we would eventually move to passenger cars.

While Southeast Asia has been very slow in adopting passenger EVs due to high prices as well as the popularity of motorcycles, Thailand has set the target year, 2035 from that year onwards all vehicle sales would be zero emission models.

As per Amorn, EVs as well as batteries, they must account for about 20% of Energy Absolute revenue, this year.

In addition to buses, the company this month has signed a memorandum of understanding, wherin the China Railway construction corp's southeast Asia unit to research hybrid battery locomotives, potentially paving the way for electric-battery trains. Amorn has stated that, it is also making electric-powered boats, which it states can charge nearing to 80% in 15 minutes.

It has been found, commercial vehicles are more heavily used and that has deterred few competitors whose batteries do not have fast charging capabilities. But that is our strength, Amorn stated, Drivers of passenger cars will not care so much about a fast charge because they usually plug in overnight with minimal use during the day.

The efforts of Energy Absolute, founder Somphote Ahunai to diversify from renewable energy into EVs and batteries have prompted comparision to Tesla and Elon Musk. Somphote's stake in his company is around $1.6 billion as per the data compiled by Bloomberg.

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