Thailand’s Energy Absolute is looking to grab the early lead in the country’s EV market through a number of fronts, and it’s already received 4,500 orders for its Thai-designed and built Mine Mobility EV.
Mine Mobility’s SPA1 EV is a five-seat hatchback with 200 km (124-mile) range which debuted at this year’s Bangkok motor show. Five Bangkok area taxi unions have already placed an order for 3,500 of the cars, Bloomberg reports.
While EVs have yet to take off in Thailand due to higher prices and the popularity of two-wheelers, Energy Absolute seems fairly well-positioned to make a mark.
Energy Absolute is the second-largest electricity generating company in the country. In addition to EVs from its Mine Mobility subsidiary, the company plans on installing more than 700 charging stations in Thailand by 2020. It’s also long had plans to build lithium-ion batteries, with plans dating back to 2017 to build a $3 billion, 50 GWh battery factory.
While other manufacturers are looking to enter the market — BYD has a government deal and Bloomberg notes that BMW, Nissan, and Mercedes Benz all plan on producing and assembling EVs in Thailand — Energy Absolute seems to be in a great position to benefit from infrastructure and local development. Thailand also offers EV incentives, unlike other Southeast Asian countries.
Mine Mobility’s SPA1 EV sells for around 1.2 million baht ($38,000) — far lower than what a Nissan Leaf or Kia Soul EV sells for in Thailand. The company also plans on making “a cheaper compact and a pricier sports car,” Bloomberg notes.
It’s interesting to get a look at EV markets in countries that have yet to make any real headway in electric car adoption. While a domestic upstart like Energy Absolute seems like it may have a tough go considering the big names that plan on manufacturing EVs in Thailand, it does have a few somewhat-unique advantages.
It’s backed by a Thai billionaire, Somphote Ahunai, who seems driven by the challenge, and Energy Absolute is both getting to the market early and establishing its own charging infrastructure, in addition to its battery manufacturing plans. It’s also a utility, supplying electricity.
Calling Energy Absolute a possible “Tesla of Thailand” as Bloomberg does is extreme, but a company like this seems to have a fighting chance — depending on how the cars actually perform.
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