AFG goes electric

Wanchai Meesiri and his “baby”.
Wanchai Meesiri and his “baby”.

The very dynamic Automotive Focus Group held their May meeting at the Holiday Inn, where they invited Wanchai Meesiri, the Engineering and Service Director of Vera Automotive to talk about their start-up, the Vera Electric Car. He was welcomed by President Frank Holzer. There was much interest in the subject with over 50 members and associates attending.

The Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) has been the result of five year’s development and the last two years have been with a running prototype.

Wanchai split the power trains into three, with the Internal Combustion engine (ICE) supreme, but there is Hydrogen (H2) and BEV now as well. He mentioned Toyota’s entry into the H2 field with its Mirai, but so far this has not been as successful as Toyota would like.

He mentioned the different forms of charging, and early in the development, Vera Automotive decided on the European Type 2 plug in for EV’s. There is work being done on induction recharging, but he felt it would be a few years before it would be wide-spread.

When deciding they had the technical knowhow here in Thailand, Wanchai and his co-workers began looking for a manufacturer in Thailand who could supply a rolling platform to take the hardware for an electric vehicle.

This was the first of many stumbling blocks for Vera Automotive, and eventually, through family connections in China, contact was made with Geely Automotive who were prepared to build and modify one of their rolling platforms to accept the batteries (2), electric cabling and the drive shafts and other technology to finish with a complete BEV.

Vera Automotive uses induction electric motors and lithium ion batteries. The batteries are encased in an inert gas (nitrogen) to assist in cooling.

The battery life is estimated at 3,000 to 4,000 charging cycles (in real terms 9-10 years and 70-80 percent recharged at the end of the useful battery life.)

Complete Vera car.
Complete Vera car.

Since the association with Geely, they have built ten prototypes which they are field testing, to become customer-ready cars.

Price in the auto business is always a problem, dealing with a general public who wants more for less at all times. Wanchai said that they have not yet firmed on a price, but once they were ready to sell cars, it should be possible to retail them out at around 800,000 baht.

This most interesting evening ended with the members getting a close look at the prototype that K. Wanchai had brought down from Bangkok.

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