Thailand aiming to be electric vehicle hub, lower energy use
Thailand is aiming to become the hub for manufacturing electric vehicles, according to the Kingdom’s Minister of Science and Technology, who said the government will develop incentives to encourage investment in producing the vehicles. In addition, building codes are being amended so that new structures will be required to be more energy efficient in order for the country to reduce its energy intensity by 30 percent by 2036.
The announcement by the minister came on the same day that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) put its first electric bus on the city’s roads for a one-month test run. Should the pilot run be successful, the city is planning on purchasing nearly 2,700 more electric buses as part of overhauling its ageing fleet. The BMA will buy a total of 3,183 buses, although the time frame wasn’t stated.
Science and Technology Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj said developing Thailand into an electric vehicle manufacturing hub could have positive ripple effects. Strong demand exists for electric vehicle parts and especially batteries. Government promotion of battery manufacturing could lead to breakthroughs in storage technology for wind and solar energy.
Thailand is already the overall vehicle manufacturing leader in the region. Developing more electric vehicles and technology, along with eco-cars, could prove further competitive advantage for the Kingdom.
The ministry will work with government universities to establish training courses in fuel cell technology that can be included in mechanical engineering studies. This would be aimed at meeting the goal of creating electric vehicle experts to satisfy rising demand. The ministry has designated Thailand Science Park as its research and training center for the new program. Thailand Science Park, just north of Bangkok, is the country’s premier public-private research center and is located near five major universities. It has served as an incubator for several new technology-based businesses and is a home for entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Energy announced last week that new buildings will be required to use a range of technologies to reduce energy consumption in order to receive construction licenses. The requirements are part of an integrated energy-efficiency plan designed to put stricter controls on existing industrial and commercial buildings, all new buildings, electronic and electrical appliances, utility producers, the transport sector and government agencies.
Twarath Sutabutr, deputy permanent secretary of the Energy Ministry, said the target of reducing growth in national energy consumption by 30 percent by 2036 from a baseline established in 2010, was achievable with the advanced technology available today and new technology that should come in the future.
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