Thailand’s auto industry going electric?


Is Thailand’s automotive future going electric? Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV’s) could be front runners and five university professors from the King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL) are claiming to be at the pointy end with their Vera 1 battery electric vehicle.

Thailand is getting serious about green automobiles with the government preparing to launch a roadmap for development of the electric vehicle industry complete with incentives for investments by the private sector and cooperation from the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) reported last week by the local and regional media.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, who oversees the economic ministries, said an upcoming meeting with the Prime Minister and the Board of Investment will discuss details of five and 10 year plans for the electric vehicle (EV) industry. “We will finalize a plan that will serve as a guideline for related industries, offering a timeline for our EV development plans,” Somkid said.

The government appears to be serious in its attempt to use the much touted Eastern Economic corridor. The production of EVs will be centered in the Eastern Economic Corridor, the three-province zone that is planned as a home for advanced industries and a showcase area for Thailand 4.0, the national strategy that is designed to transform Thailand’s economy and society into one driven by innovation, advance and green technologies, research and development, and creativity.

Another mover, even if not quite a shaker, Vera Automotive, founded by five Thai engineers from King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL) is a new automotive “Thai” brand and is a BEV.

The Automotive Focus Group (AFG) has also shown interest in this latest direction for the “Detroit of the East” and has invited the KMITL university professors to address the group on Friday 26 at the Holiday Inn auditorium, and to have a look at the prototype, called Vera 1.

This has been of great interest to the AFG members, with at this stage sketchy details including the maximum speed of the Vera V1 up to 105 kilometers an hour. It can run up to 180 km per charge, which takes six hours to complete.

Co-founder Wanchai Meesiri said all Vera cars are designed by Thai engineers under the Thai brand, but the company has hired the Chinese carmaker Geely Automotive to produce the BEVs. The company imports the cars as completely built-up (CBU) vehicles to Thailand.

Further information about Vera 1 comes with the reveal of the car being shown to the AFG members and at the meeting with the academics on Friday 26 in the Holiday Inn auditorium. AFG members can get entry at the door, but non-members will have to depend upon cancellations.