A Chinese electric-bus maker has expressed interest in investing in an automotive assembly plant in Thailand to produce electric buses to serve the country’s transport system, Industry Minister Atchaka Sibunruang said.
Speaking after meeting the chief executive of Shenzhen Wuzhoulong Motors Group, Atchaka said the company produces eco-friendly buses and has strong expertise in trading automotive parts.
“The company wants to make Thailand the production base for its electric buses and export to other Asean countries,” she said.
Shenzhen Wuzhoulong plans to make 10,000 buses in the first year. The company has a production capacity of 30,000 units a year in China and plans to make passenger electric cars to serve rising demand in the region.
The group has provided 4,000 buses to serve 300 public transport routes in Shenzhen, the bustling special economic zone in Guangdong province. The incoming investment of Shenzhen Wuzhoulong comes at an ideal time, as the government is also considering a plan to support electric vehicles (EVs).
Atchaka said the relevant government agencies, including the Industry Ministry, the Finance Ministry and the Board of Investment, will discuss the investment package and incentives to support investment in EVs before passing the proposal to the cabinet for approval.
“Electric cars have become a trend in Thailand and will continue to grow. The government and the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) also have a policy to open bids for electric buses to be used in the BMTA system. Shenzhen Wuzhoulong Motors Group is also interested in joining the bids,” she said.
Currently, several Thai and foreign investors, including Shenzhen Wuzhoulong, Loxley Plc., Cherdchai Tour and Tesla Motors, have expressed an interest in investing in electric cars.
Cho Thavee Dollasien Plc. (CTV-Doll), an MAI-listed bus and truck assembler, has set its sights on expanding into EVs. CTV-Doll also signed a partnership deal with Germany’s Framo-Werke GmbH this month to develop electric trucks in Thailand.
Atchaka said Thailand also aimed to be a production base of EVs in Asean due to its ideal location in the center of the region and its high technology that will help serve rising demand for EVs. Domestic carmakers are also seeking government support to start investing in plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in Thailand.
She said EVs are one of the 10 targeted industries the government wants to promote as next-generation industries. They are cars; smart electronics; affluent, medical and wellness tourism; agriculture and biotechnology; food; robotics for industry; logistics and aviation; biofuels and biochemicals; digital; and medical services.
Apart from EVs, Thailand’s overall automotive industry is also recovering.