Pattaya to test electric baht buses in early ‘22

Pattaya Mayor Sonthaya Kunplome inspects an electric vehicle at the SNC Group assembly plant in Rayong with the aim that they could be used as Baht buses in Pattaya.

Pattaya will begin testing electric baht buses early next year as its plans to switch to “green” public transit moves into higher gear.

Mayor Sonthaya Kunplome met Dec. 8 with members of Eastern Economic Corridor management and Somchai Thaisanguanworakul, CEO of consultant SNC Group Co. to plot the next steps in the project to test electric-powered pickup trucks in Pattaya and electric motorbikes in Koh Larn.

Sonthaya said the pilot project involving 10-20 electric baht buses will begin early next year.

In August, Pattaya and Toyota Motor Thailand Co. agreed to have Toyota supply pickup trucks that can be used as baht buses, coaches to shuttle people to and from Bangkok airports, and small vehicles for hotel courtesy cars.

Mayor Sonthaya Kunplome test drives an electric vehicle at the Rayong plant as a prelude to testing electric-powered pickup trucks in Pattaya and electric motorbikes in Koh Larn.

Recently, city officials visited a Rayong industrial estate to try out the vehicles, with Sonthaya saying they provided satisfactory performance.

The next step, the mayor said is to strike an agreement with the Pattaya Baht Bus Cooperative to have its drivers test the electric vehicles.

The test will determine whether the switch from diesel to electric vehicles will be financially viable, as drivers are unlikely to be able to afford buying the trucks. The government would have to pick up part or all of the cost.

As early as 2022, Pattaya taxis could look like this electric vehicle.