Thai Billionaire To Build Country’s First Own Electric Cars
Jun 21, 2019

Energy Absolute, Thailand’s second-largest electricity generating company by market capitalisation owned by Thai billionaire Somphote Ahunai, plans to start mass production of the country’s first homegrown electric vehicles for use in urban transport.

Ahunai, who made his money with stock exchange-listed renewable energy companies, unveiled its Mine Mobility passenger electric 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 about 1.2 million baht ($38,000), cheaper than a comparable Nissan Leaf or Kia Soul EV.

Energy Absolute markets the Mine Mobility as the first electric vehicle designed and built in Thailand. The five-seat hatchback can travel as far as 200 kilometers on a single charge, according to the company.

“We’ve been trying to go electric for the past two years,” Theppanom Phinsuwan, the company’s representative, told Bloomberg News, adding that “we want to be first to the cars because we think electric vehicles are the way the world is heading.”

Using electric vehicles would cut drivers’ expenses by half, increasing their profit and allowing them to pay off their car loans sooner, Theppanom said.

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.

The company currently has about 400 charging stations around Bangkok and plans to install another 300 this year. It wants to have at least one charging point every five kilometers.

The batteries inside Mine Mobility cars will come from a lithium-ion battery plant now being built. If the factory reaches full capacity, it would move Thailand into third place globally in production.