Electric car company and EV industry in Thailand

Global and Regional Demand

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global sales of electric vehicles in 2019 are expected to be around 2.1 million units, representing a 40 percent increase over 2018. This indicates a growing demand for electric vehicles globally. Similarly, the global accumulated EV unit increased by 60% on average between 2014 and 2019.

Thailand’s EV stock has been steadily increasing in response to local demand. More importantly, several well-known Thai companies have been actively investing in EV charging infrastructure across the country, indicating a growing belief in future demand surge.

Supply-Side Factors and a Beneficial Ecosystem

Thailand, the 11th largest automotive producer in the world and the first in ASEAN, is poised to become ASEAN’s EV hub, thanks to its well-established value chain, which provides the industry with top-notch quality products at a competitive price.

Thailand has a strong and comprehensive automotive supply chain, with over 1,700 companies in the upstream supporting industry, 1,820 auto parts suppliers (720 in Tier 1 and 1,100 in Tier 2 and 3), and over 35 automobile and motorcycle brands. Efforts by public and private sector institutions to expand EV infrastructure, such as charging stations, indicate that Thailand’s EV ecosystem is developing rapidly.

Government and BOI Assistance

The Thai government, through the Board of Investment (BOI), provides extensive investment incentives for almost every segment of the electric vehicle market. It helps foreigners to set up an electric car company in Thailand. These include corporate income tax exemption for up to 8 years. Furthermore, key electric vehicle parts (e.g., BMS, Motor, and DCU) are eligible for additional years of CIT exemption in addition to assembly. As always, the BOI investor facilitation services strive to make the process as easy as possible for all incoming companies.

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An Overview of Thailand's Automotive Industry

Production Capacity Overview

Thailand is the largest auto producer in ASEAN. In 2020, production will total 1,427,074 units, accounting for 50.1 percent of total ASEAN production. This is followed by Indonesia (690,150 units, or approximately 24.2%), and Malaysia (485,186 units, or approximately 17.0%). Thailand is also the leader in motorcycle and scooter production, with 1,615,319 units produced in 2020, accounting for 58.9% of ASEAN production. Philippines and Malaysia come in second and third, with 631,370 and 494,490 units, respectively.

Electric cars production thailand

Overview of the ASEAN electric car market

Thailand is not only the largest EV producer in Southeast Asia, but it is also the largest EV market in the region and therefore the most attractive market in asia to set up an electric car company. Thailand has 153,184 newly registered EVs in 2019, followed by Singapore, which has 45,367 units.

ASEAN EV industry

In-depth Knowledge of the Thai EV Market

In terms of production, Thailand will be the world’s 11th largest automotive producer in 2020, a position it has held since 2018. As of 2020, Thailand had a total accumulated number of 186,271 electric vehicles, with passenger cars (HEV/PHEV) accounting for 93 percent of all EV in Thailand.

EV industry thailand

Investment Possibilities


Various public and private sector incentives and initiatives on electric vehicle passenger cars, as well as various supporting industries, make BEV, PHEV, and HEV a promising business opportunity. Indeed, here are some examples of incentives to set up an electric car company in Thailand:

The Electric Vehicle Association of Thailand is collaborating with the Thai government to implement a coordinated plan to increase the number of PHEV and BEV units to 1.2 million units by 20351, as well as 690 charging stations to support the electrical vehicle ecosystem.

Growing demand for ride-sharing in ASEAN, as evidenced by an increase in the number of users for both traditional taxis and transportation apps, “CABB EV” launched an EV taxi prototype, all made in Thailand, that will be ready for service in 2022, with a capacity of 1,200 cars per year and exports to overseas markets.

Motorcycle with Lithium-Ion Battery

On the other hand, Thailand’s government has established solid incentive packages for the battery electric motorcycle industry in tandem with Thai manufacturers’ competitiveness over neighboring countries.
According to World’s Top Exports, Thailand is the world’s fifth largest motorcycle exporter, with a total value of $ 1.8 billion (2019) and a total production capacity of 3 million units per year. Thailand has a well-developed motorcycle supply chain, ranging from supporting parts (tires, electronics parts) to production and assembly manufacturing capability.
Motorcycles are one of Thailand’s most important domestic manufacturing industries, with many manufacturing plants (localization) capable of meeting ASEAN demand.

Bus, truck, and tricycle powered by batteries

The potential rise of battery electric buses, trucks, and tricycles is another example of an electric vehicle business that has piqued the interest of numerous Thai private companies.

Energy Absolute Plc. (Alternative energy focused conglomerate) plans to be a supplier of electric buses for the state-run Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) to replace current fleet of buses across Bangkok as part of Thailand’s government plan to promote electric vehicle industry with the goal of achieving goals of 50 percent of new car production or 1.25 million units by 2030.

Banpu Plc. (Energy conglomerate) is pursuing this possibility for battery electric tricycles, with intentions to raise the number of electric tricycles (Tuk-tuks) to 1,000 by the end of 2021 and 5,000 by 2025.

Aside from the potential possibilities for each type of car, there are some more reasons to be optimistic about Thailand’s electric vehicle business.

Investment Incentives That Pay Off

Electric vehicles are one of the main industries that the Thai government wants to promote by granting massive investment incentives through BOI channels, including at least three years of corporate income tax exemption for the producer for practically every type of vehicle. The aim is to encourage foreigners to set up an electric car company in Thailand.

Furthermore, as previously stated, massive investment incentives policies are in place, including an up to 8-year corporation income tax exemption for Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV).

Private Funding for Electric car Research and Development

ℹ️ Many Thai commercial enterprises are partnering with government organizations or research institutions to undertake EV research and development initiatives, which is helping to advance and accelerate EV technology.

PTT Plc (Energy conglomerate) is pursuing research and development in the areas of automotive, charging station, hydrogen, and battery technology. Alternatively, Nissan’s automotive manufacturing firm has donated five first-generation Nissan LEAF (a cutting-edge technological vehicle that runs entirely on electricity) to Thai institutions. To give academic automotive professionals with a first-hand grasp of electric vehicle engineering and technology.

Regional demand for electric cars is growing

Nissan, a well-known car manufacturer, sees potential in ASEAN’s demand for electric vehicles. According to a Frost & Sullivan Co. survey of 3,000 people in six ASEAN countries (Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Singapore), 66 percent of people in these countries believe that electric vehicles will dominate vehicle markets in the near future.

EV Charging Infrastructure Expansion

ℹ️ Thailand has 664 electric vehicle charging stations as of April 2021, with a steady increase in the number of stations.

The expansion of EV infrastructure is an important trend that runs parallel to the Thai government’s EV roadmap. Incorporate with a large number of private companies that are eager to invest in this venture.

For example, Energy Absolute Plc wants to grow its number of electric vehicle charging stations from 400 to 1,000 across the country. To meet future demand, Thai enterprises such as PTT Oil and Retail, the Electric Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), the Metropolitan Electricity Authority, and the Provincial Electricity Authority are operating.

Development and the Private Sector

Many local and worldwide collaboration projects involve Thai research and development organizations and the corporate sector.

PTT Plc (an energy conglomerate) works on car, charging station, hydrogen, and battery technology.

Furthermore, in 2021, PTT Oil and Retail (PTTOR) (a subsidiary of PTT Plc.) will collaborate with EVLOMO to implement a charging network project across Thailand (with 2,290 fuel stations currently) and will install over 1,000 new fast chargers (every 50 kilometers) to accelerate EV adoption in Thailand (with 2,290 fuel stations currently).

Nissan has invested billions of Thai Baht in the electric car industry, as part of a strategic effort to make Thailand the global EV export hub.

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Support from the government

Focus area

Thailand’s government provides funding for the EV sector through the BOI channel. However, there are particular areas of focus in the electrical vehicle manufacturing industry that provide additional incentives.

➤ Battery Electric Motorcycle
➤ Battery Electric Tricycle
➤ Electric Vehicles (BEV, PHEV, and HEV)
➤ Buses and trucks powered by batteries
➤ EV Charging Station
➤ EV Key Parts

Associated Research Institute

Thai Automotive Institute (TAI): Establishing an EV battery testing laboratory in collaboration with Korea Conformity Laboratories (KCL) in South Korea. The project intends to establish a collaborative relationship on automotive research and development and electric vehicle batteries, for example, by organizing trainings for experts and key stakeholders to prepare them for operation in an EV battery testing center.

Thailand’s Electrical Vehicle Association (EVAT): To promote the use of electric vehicles in Thailand and ASEAN, we are collaborating with 11 private Thai companies to research and create an electric charging consortium for electric vehicles.

The Automotive and Tyre Testing, Research and Innovation Center (ATTRIC): The project entails the construction of a testing laboratory as well as the installation of test equipment. The main goal of this project is to provide information and training for human resources in order to facilitate the transition to an electric vehicle-based economy.

Thammasat University and Kasetsart University are two universities in Thailand: Supporting electric vehicle technology research and development in Thailand through a variety of collaborative projects with the Thai public and private sectors. Thammasat University and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) collaborated to create “Smart City,” a sustainable campus area with electric vehicles and charging stations.

Incentives from the BOI

1. BOI corporate income tax incentives for electric car company

Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV), Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), and Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) manufacturing (HEV)

A total investment capital of at least 5,000 million baht is required.

HEV No CIT exemption
PHEV 3-year CIT exemption
BEV 8-year CIT exemption + 3-year R&D exemption

Less than 5,000 million baht in total investment capital.

HEV No CIT exemption
PHEV 3-year CIT exemption
BEV 8-year CIT exemption + 2-year R&D exemption
  • If manufacture starts in 2022. +1-year exemption per part if other key part is manufactured in addition to the basic criteria within 3 years +1-year exemption
  • If actual manufacture is > 10,000 car/year in any year within 3 years +1 to 3-year exemption in case of R&D

ℹ️ For HEV, PHEV, and BEV, import duties on machinery are waived, as are import charges on raw materials used in export production. Non-tax incentives are also available.

2. Manufacturers producing battery electric motorcycles, tricycles, buses, and trucks are eligible for BOI corporate income tax advantages.

1. Motorcycle with a Battery

CIT exemption for 3 years:

➤ A one-year extension if production begins in 2022
➤ A one-year extension if the battery manufacturing process begins within three years of the promotion certificate's issuance date
➤ +1-year exemption per part if another important part (BMS, Motor, or DCU) is manufactured within 3 years of the issuance date of the promotion certificate
➤ In the event of R&D, a one-to-three-year extension is possible

2. Tricycle with a Battery

CIT exemption for 3 years:

➤ +1 year exemption if battery production begins with module production within 3 years of the promotion certificate's issuance date
➤ +1 year exemption per part if another important part (BMS Motor or DCU) is also manufactured within 3 years of the issuance date of the promotion certificate
➤ +1 to 3-year exemption in case of R&D

3. Buses and trucks powered by batteries

CIT exemption for 3 years:

➤ A one-year extension if battery production begins with the module production process within three years of the promotion certificate's issuance date
➤ +1-year exemption per part if another important part (BMS Motor, or DCU) is also manufactured within 3 years of the issuance date of the promotion certificate
➤ In the event of R&D, a one-to-three-year extension is possible

4. BOI corporate income tax incentives for key parts of electric vehicle

1. Battery

5-year CIT exemption : Pack Assembly

8-year CIT exemption : Module Production
+ incentive of 90% import duty reduction for raw and essential materials not available within the country for 2 years

8-year CIT exemption (no cap) :  Cell Production
+ incentive of 90% import duty reduction for raw and essential materials not available within the country for 2 years

2. Others Key Parts of EV

8-years CIT exemption : Traction Motor, Air Conditioning System, BMS, DCU, On-board Charger, EV Charging Equipment, DCDC Converter, Inverter, Portable EV Charger, Electrical Circuit Breaker, EV Smart Charging System, Front / Rear Axle for EV Bus, High Voltage Harness,  Reduction Gear, Battery Cooling System and Regenerative Braking System

3. BOI corporate income tax incentives for EV charging station

5-year CIT exemption : Build at least 40 chargers (with at least 25% are quick type)

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Regulatory Process

The following illustration describes your investment journey in Thailand. The BOI stands ready to provide investment facilitation services to ensure that you can fully comply with any regulatory requirement if you wish to set up an electric car company in Thailand.

1. Apply for BOI incentives

Submit the application for investment promotion from Board of Investment

2. Register your entity

Register your business at the Department of Business Development, Ministry of Commerce.

3. Get the certificate of investment promotion

Obtain the certificate of investment incentive from the BOI.

4. Operationalize your site

1. Dealing with Construction Permits

Building Permit and Occupancy Permit Submit building permit application at the Civil Works department of the area you are building your establishment
Telephone TOT Public Company Limited
Water Connect with Provincial or Metropolitan Waterworks Authority depending on your location

2. Getting Electricity

Connect with the Metropolitan Electricity Authority or the Provincial Electricity Authority depending on your location.

3. Registering Property

➤ Submit your documents at the Land Office, Department of Lands
➤ All corporate documents used in this process must be certified copies

4. Recruitment

➤ Key takeaways in understanding labor laws in Thailand: protections, hours and holiday, compensation, social security, cessation of operation, termination, and minimum wage
➤ Understand incentives for labor skill training

5. Manufacturing License

➤ Apply for Authorization to Use Land, Authorization for New Factory Construction or Rental Factory Renovations, and Authorization to begin factory
➤ Connect with either the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) or the Ministry of Industry (MOI) Provincial Offices (Dept. of Industrial Works) depending on the location of your establishment

6. Import and export License

Use of e-Custom system for importing and exporting.

7. Foreign Business License/Certificate

Obtain foreign business license if required per business type.