Thailand has approved a $1 billion joint venture between Foxconn and PTT manufacturing battery electric vehicles

Major corporations are investing substantially in Thailand to promote the use of electric vehicles in response to the government’s ambition of transforming the nation into Southeast Asia’s Electric Vehicle hub over the next decade.

Thailand’s BOI (Board of Investment) has cleared a 36.1 billion baht ($1 billion) investment by the Horizon Plus joint venture of Taiwan’s Foxconn and Thailand’s state-owned energy giant PTT to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) in the Land of Smiles.

“We intend to further enhance the supply chain by strengthening incentives for battery production, a crucial component of the industry’s transition,” noted Duangjai Asawachintachit, the BOI’s secretary-general.

She went on to say that so far, 16 projects by 10 different firms have received promotion incentives for investments in the production of EV batteries totaling 4.82 billion baht (RM609.8 million). Another three projects have been approved for investment in the batteries of high energy density, with a total investment value of 6.75 billion baht (over $191 million).

Aside from battery manufacturing, Foxconn, one of Apple’s primary suppliers, is trying to build Chinese Electric Vehicles in Thailand.  After the adoption of an MoU (memorandum of understanding) with PTT in November last year, Horizon Plus is looking for its first outsourcing transaction with Chinese firm Hozon New Energy Automobile, as previously reported.

The idea is to invest $1-2 billion (RM4.4-8.8 billion) in building an EV facility in eastern Thailand, with construction planned to start in the middle of this year and production to begin in 2024. In its first phase, the facility will produce 50,000 automobiles per year, with production eventually increasing to 150,000 cars per year.

Horizon Plus is among several investment requests in manufacturing and infrastructure projects totaling 209.5 billion baht (RM26.5 billion) that were approved on Monday (June 13, 2022), with the goal of transforming Thailand into Southeast Asia’s primary EV manufacturing center, a title that Indonesia is also vying for.

Other measures include developing an incentive package for upgrading existing general industrial estates/zones so that they may deliver intelligent system services to their clients in five important areas: smart energy,  smart facilities, smart IT, smart economy, and approximately one to 3 other system services (smart lifestyle, smart workforce, and smart good corporate governance), according to Duangjai.

Meanwhile, the BOI authorized a rule allowing approved foreign juristic entities with authorized and paid-up capital of not under 50 million baht (RM6.3 million) to acquire land to set up offices and living quarters for senior executives and foreign specialists.

London must be at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution

Public charging points can be located on the street and in strategic locations such as retail malls in London. The quick-charging network enables one to charge your electric vehicle more quickly and efficiently while on the go. An 80% charge usually does take 20 minutes.

Upwards of 10,000 electric vehicle (EV) charging outlets have been constructed in London, but thousands more will be required to meet the predicted spike in demand from motorists, according to a report released on Thursday. The historic achievement occurred as the Evening Standard unveiled a big initiative, Plug It In, to showcase the benefits of going electric in London while also exploring the hurdles.

According to the most recent data from City Hall and Zap-Map, London has about a third of the UK’s 32,132 publicly available charging outlets, including roughly 750 quick devices which can recharge a vehicle in 20 minutes.

However, Mayor Sadiq Khan estimates that by the end of the decade, 40,000 to 60,000 chargers, comprising up to 4,000 rapid chargers, will be required to fulfill growing demand as Londoners abandon diesel and gasoline.

As per the business organization London First, this means that 10 new chargers are going to have to be built every day until the close of the decade. Last year, the volume of electric vehicles (EVs) registered in the capital climbed by 60%, reaching 86,568. One out of every five new automobiles purchased in London is now a “plug-in” – either a battery or a hybrid.

As per City Hall estimates, the total quantity of electric vehicles on London’s roads might reach 1.4 million by 2030, accounting for half of all vehicles on the road. Mr. Khan wants to “urgently expedite” efforts to transition away from gasoline and diesel vehicles, in order to meet his goal of becoming London carbon neutral by 2030.

“Continuing this success will be crucial to combating levels of pollution in London and also the climate emergency — assisting us to clean up our air and bring down dangerous road traffic emissions,” he wrote in today’s Standard.

He claims that as motorists are becoming more ecologically concerned and the government seeks to wipe out new diesel and petrol automobiles, the supply of charge stations is straining to keep up. Electric cars account for 3% of all vehicles in the city, but more than 6% in affluent boroughs like Westminster.

A slow-fast charging station costs £5,000, whereas a quick or ultra-rapid charging point costs £85,000. Even half of the estimated demand — 18,500 new points — might cost up to £66 million by 2025.

City Hall is hoping that the cost will be covered by the private sector, although it will allocate public space for charging stations. Up to 1,000 quick chargers might be installed on land possessed by City Hall or even the Transport for London, including on Red Routes. An initial batch of 100 quick or ultra-rapid points is expected.

Electric vehicles that are “silent” pose a hidden threat

Electric as well as hybrid electric vehicle sales are expanding gradually over the world, and their presence in cities is increasing as well. Low levels of noise created by these cars could represent a new risk issue for road users when traveling at low speeds. The risk’s size, on the other hand, has yet to be identified precisely.

Electric vehicles (EVs) are not required to emit a sound when traveling at reduced speeds in Australia, which activists argue puts pedestrians at risk. Those who are blind or have impaired vision and depend on their ability to hear to navigate their environment are especially vulnerable to silent EVs, which include vehicles, bikes, and scooters.

When traveling at low speeds, the US, the EU, and Japan all need EVs to make noise. There are concerns that Australia may become a “dumping site” for unsuitable models. Chris Edwards, Vision Australia’s head of government relations, said it was nearly hard to spot EVs by hearing alone when they were moving slowly.

“Obviously, that has an influence on safety because someone might walk out in front of a vehicle,” he said. “It’s not about taking on a lot of responsibility. It’s all about catching up with the remaining part of the world in terms of technology.” According to a recent survey, 35% of respondents have been hit or had a close call with a silent EV, a statistic that is sure to rise as the number of them on the road increases.

Mr. Edwards, who is blind and utilizes a guide dog, claimed he was nearly hit by an Electric Vehicle in a parking lot because the driver was distracted. He added that not being able to properly identify automobiles by sound harmed people’s confidence in their daily lives.

“People who are blind or have low vision don’t drive, so they rely largely on walking and also being capable of crossing roads and other activities that are intrinsically risky if you can’t hear vehicles approaching,” he added.

Since at least 2019, when then-transport minister Michael McCormack launched a regulatory review, Vision Australia has pushed the government to make changes.

“Really, the previous government dragged their feet on getting it done,” Mr. Edwards said, “and as a result, it hasn’t moved anywhere close as far as projected.” He encouraged the Labor government to act quickly to pass the regulation adjustments before the proportion of non-compliant EVs on the road grew much more.

“We know it’s unlikely that old cars will be retrofitted, so we ought to have this passed and completed as soon as possible,” Mr. Edwards said. “By the year 2050, 90% of automobiles will be electric, and the longer we delay, the more vehicles will be on the road which will fail to fulfill our requirements.”

China’s imminent dominance as a vehicle exporter will be accelerated by electric vehicles

China is poised to become a major export hub for automobiles. China possesses the required prerequisites to export vehicles on a massive scale, fueled by technical progress, large production capacity, and government assistance. The Chinese government encourages and pushes Chinese and foreign carmakers based in China to export.

The administration has prioritized absorbing international value chains over promoting homegrown champions. The government is also establishing goals and disseminating information about foreign rules in order to assist Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers in their international expansion.

China’s car exports are booming, as per François Chimits and Gregor Sebastian of the Mercator Institute for China Studies(opens a new window), with the majority of them going to Europe. China shipped half a million EVs (electric vehicles) in the year 2021, up from approximately nothing only a few years before, and it had the second-largest market share in Europe, just second solely to Germany. As the automotive industry moves to electric vehicles, Europe may eventually discover itself in a trade deficit with China.

That would be a huge change in the market structure. Europe and Japan are already buying consumer items from China while sending luxury vehicles — or their most critical components — the other way. The insignia on Chinese vehicles that arrive in Europe may or may not betray their true origins. Teslas from Shanghai account for about half of them, with Dacia, Polestar, and BMW rounding out the rest of the lineup. Although Tesla just constructed a plant in Germany, other manufacturers’ production selections show that China has a significant cost advantage.

The ramifications will be enormous if batteries gets to replace combustion engines as well as China controls car manufacturing. Europe’s and Japan’s prosperity is based on automobile manufacturing. Toyota and Volkswagen, as well as their supply chains, employ millions of people in dependable, skilled manufacturing jobs. National current account surpluses are supported by them. A transfer in vehicle manufacturing location would have a far higher impact than initial migrations of electronics, steel, and shipbuilding.

Sebastian and Chimits suggest that Europe should be fighting back against Chinese industrial regulations that supply cheap funding to carmakers and tether electric vehicle incentives for Chinese customers to domestic production. Meanwhile, European consumers can benefit from EU subsidies for Chinese-made electric vehicles, which have a 10% tax compared to the US’s 27.5 percent.

Fair and reciprocal treatment should be a top priority for Europe. Competitiveness, on the other hand, cannot be replaced by protection. Even if the United States and Europe impose hefty tariffs on their automobile markets, the reward in global car trade is to manufacture for the numerous richer nations — from Norway to the Middle East to Australia that lack the capacity to support their car industries.