As the Bangkok International Motor Show revealed before closing on Sunday, Thailand’s soaring fuel prices have triggered a sales boom in electric vehicles, or EVs.
More than a million people attended the exhibition, with organizers reporting a 20% increase in electric vehicle orders over the previous year.
The Southeast Asian country has been hesitant to embrace electric vehicles, much like its regional neighbors, but the Bangkok administration has begun to embrace the alternative to fuel-powered transportation and approved subsidies for some EVs earlier this year.
The change comes at a time when Thai consumers are facing rising energy prices, with the government protecting the country’s poor by capping retail fuel prices on March 22. On Saturday, gasoline prices averaged more than 40 baht ($1.20) per liter, up 50% from the previous year.
Because of worldwide developments and rising gasoline prices, Thais are turning to electric vehicles, according to Grand Prix International, the organizer of the Bangkok auto show.
“Overall, electric vehicles are a huge trend. “The government announced plans to cut the tax for affordable-priced EVs not long before the motor show,” Anothai Eamlumnao, Grand Prix International’s chief operating officer, told Arab News.
“Oil is becoming more expensive, and the worldwide trend is shifting toward electric vehicles.”
Electric car orders have increased by 20% at the exhibition, according to Eamlumnao. The event, which will also feature various sorts of vehicles, is estimated to generate total spending of almost 15 billion baht ($448 million).
Thailand plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, convert half of its entire auto manufacturing to electric vehicles by 2030, and become a regional production hub for greener vehicles, according to government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana.
Officials are attempting to encourage more Thais to purchase electric vehicles, and the government issued incentive packages in February that included tax and duty exemptions for some EV models.
MG Auto, one of the firms exhibiting at the Bangkok motor show, claimed it received roughly 1,000 pre-orders and that electric vehicles were its best-selling vehicle this year.
However, because the trend is still in its early stages in Thailand, potential clients are still testing the waters.
Worrachat Tangfurat, a 41-year-old programmer who attended the car exhibition on Saturday, said he would wait for Thailand’s electric vehicle market to mature before buying.
“I’m interested in an electric vehicle because I believe it will help me save a lot of money on gasoline,” Tangfurat told Arab News.
“However, I’m still researching the model and the industry, and I’d like to wait for the market to grow larger because I believe there are currently insufficient charging stations.”
Sasitorn Panijaren, 29, is considering making the transition as well, but will wait till the country has more diversity.
“I’m considering getting an electric car in the next two or three years because I believe it would help me save money on gas,” Panijaren told Arab News.