Asia Business Channel

Thailand plans to build electric cars

The new Mine Mobility electric passenger vehicle.

Thai billionaire Somphote Ahunai, who owns Energy Absolute, Thailand’s second-largest electricity generating company has announced plans to start manufacturing Thailand’s first homegrown electric vehicles for use in urban transport.

Ahunai unveiled the “Mine Mobility” electric passenger vehicle at this year’s Bangkok Motor Show and immediately received more than 4,500 orders from taxi companies in Bangkok. The car is priced at $38,000 USD and is comparable to the Nissan Leaf of KIA Soul EV which both cost around $65,000 USD.

The Mine Mobility series consists of 3 different models and are the first electric vehicles designed and built in Thailand. According to the company, the five-seat hatchback model can travel as far as 200 kilometers on a single charge.

Theppanom Phinsuwan, a spokesman for the company said: “We’ve been trying to go electric for the past two years and we want to be first because we think electric vehicles are the way the world is heading.”

According to Theppanom, electric vehicles have lower operations and maintenance costs and have the ability to cut drivers’ expenses by half. For taxi drivers buying their own cars, the lower costs of the Mine Mobility vehicles will allow them to increase their profit and pay off their car loans sooner

Energy Absolute has three electric vehicle models planned—the midsize Mine Mobility promised for next year, and then a cheaper compact and a pricier sports car. It’s building a factory that can assemble as many as 10,000 cars starting later this year.

Mine Mobility’s – Electric compact Car

Mine Mobility’s – Electric mid-size sedan

Mine Mobility’s – Electric sports car

An Energy Absolute electric vehicle charging station in Bangkok

To support its electric vehicles, Energy Absolute has 400 charging stations in metro Bangkok and plans to install another 300 stations in 2019. The company wants to have at least one charging point every five kilometers and has built an app for drivers, which shows the location of the charging stations across the city.

The batteries inside the Mine Mobility electric vehicles will come from a lithium-ion battery plant that is now under construction. If the factory reaches its full production capacity, it would move Thailand into third place globally in lithium-ion battery production.



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