Thailand’s first EV charging station opens in Bangkok

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The Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA) opened Thailand’s first electric vehicle (EV) charging station for the public, with nine more stations to be launched by the end of next year, MEA Governor Atorn Sinsawat said Wednesday.

The station opening was in response to the global warming issue, he noted, adding that countries such as Japan and the United States also have policies to support the use of electric cars.

The MEA, as a government organization, opened its first pilot EV station at its headquarters on Pleonchit Road at no charge until July 31 next year.

The nine other stations will be in Bangkok, Samut Prakan, and Nonthaburi, with the construction cost of each at Bt600,000. Services will include a quick charge at 20-30 minutes and a home charging system to fully charge a vehicle in 6-8 hours.

The Metropolitan Electricity Authority will order 20 electric cars for its organizational use within four years. The move is considered as beginning Thailand’s biggest step toward an electric cars society.

Assoc Prof Watit Benjapolakul, Electrical Engineering Department head at Chulalongkorn University, commented the government should support the use of electric cars as Japan and the US do, for instance, by offering tax reductions for such imported vehicles, and supporting opening EV charging stations as well as subsidizing free services.

The academic forecast more people will opt for such cars should their prices in Thailand be lowered from the current over Bt2 million to around Bt1 million.

Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Motors’ planning and marketing general manager Hideyuki Hatori said around 27,000 electric vehicles were produced in Japan for export.

The company is considering whether to open an electric car plant in Thailand for manufacturing its eco Mitsubishi Mirage as an electric car. If it was to do so, Hideyuki said the Thai government must provide complete privileges in setting up the plant, support the import of lithium batteries or the construction of a lithium batteries plant in Thailand, as well as reduce excise taxes from the current rate of 10 percent.

The manager noted three Mitsubishi electric cars have been imported to the country. Another four will be within this year.

The current price of a Mitsubishi electric car is Bt2.6 million, of which the import tax is still as high as 80 percent. Such price was not set for commercial purpose but rather for supporting research studies of related agencies, Hideyuki said, adding that sales for commercial purposes in Thailand is expected in the next five years.