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The billionaire of electricity builds the Tesla in Thailand


It is the epitome of a closed circuit: the team that helps the power of one of the largest cities in Southeast Asia is to build electric cars, batteries and charging stations for the nascent market and then supply the juice for keep them running

Thai billionaire Somphote Ahunai predicts that its Energy Absolute is a title of electric vehicles, although there are fewer than 1,500 vehicles battery in the country. It is a 0.004% of the vehicles registered until December.

Southeast Asia has been slow to adopt passenger electric vehicles due to the high prices of stickers and predilection for both wheels, but the Thai government considers them as a way to reduce Bangkok's air pollution and strengthen an industry of the automobile that generates approximately 12% of the gross domestic product. Energy Absolute is using subsidies and fiscal expenses to put 5,000 electric vehicles on the road next year, supported by 700 freight stations. He is also planning a factory of 3,000 million US dollars to make lithium ion batteries.

Energy Absolute recently unveiled the first car of its subsidiary Mine Mobility: SPA1.


Energy Absolute recently unveiled the first car of its subsidiary Mine Mobility: SPA1.

"The trend is clear: it is time for Thailand to stop being complacent and pursue higher technologies to boost economic growth," said Somphote, founder and CEO of the company. "EV technology opens up new opportunities for success by new players."

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Energy Absolute, the second electricity generation company in Thailand for market capitalization, introduced its passenger EV Mine Mobility the Auto Show this year and immediately received more than 4,500 orders. The car has a price of about 1.2 million baht ($ 58,000), cheaper than a comparable Nissan Leaf or Kia Soul EV.

Even so, the car will be on the road when EV showrooms start to fill up with foreign models.

Car makers pursue growth in Southeast Asia, as combined sales to China, the United States and Europe are dwindling in the midst of the commercial and Brexit war. The Bloomberg World Auto Manufacturers index decreases more than 15% in the last twelve months.

BYD Co., the Chinese manufacturer backed by Warren Buffett, said last year that he was planning to deliver 1,100 cars to Bangkok as part of an agreement with the government to become the largest provider of pure transmission vehicles .

BMW, Nissan and the Mercedes Benz unit announced all their plans to produce and mount electric vehicles locally, said the BloombergNEF researcher.

Energy Absolute will also try to overcome local preferences for cheaper scooters and scooters. Thai people buy about 2 million motorcycles per year, according to statistics drawn up by BNEF.

Thai energy billionaire Somphote Ahunai wants his company to dominate EV sales in Thailand.


Thai energy billionaire Somphote Ahunai wants his company to dominate EV sales in Thailand.

"Electric vehicles will be a business that will bring new growth to the company," said Suwat Sinsadok, public services analyst at Finansia Syrus Securities Pcl in Bangkok. "This is the right business strategy and it is around at the right time."

Energy Absolute sells Mine Mobility SPA1 as the first EV designed and built in Thailand. The five-seat sedan can travel up to 200 kilometers with a single charge, according to the company.

This is less than a Tesla 3 or an BYD e6 model, but enough to convince a group of five tax unions to request 3,500 cars in metropolitan Bangkok. The group chose Energy Absolute because it promised the first installment.

"The last two years we have been trying to go electric," said Theppanom Phinsuwan, representative of the group. "We want to be the first in cars, because we believe EV is the way of the world."

The use of electric vehicles would reduce the costs of drivers by half, increasing their profits and allowing them to pay auto loans sooner.

We do not need a grill, so it will make a lot of glossy black plastic.


We do not need a grill, so it will make a lot of glossy black plastic.

Taxi drivers usually spend between 500 and 600 baht a day using a gas sweep, such as the all-powerful Toyota Corolla Altis green and yellow. The charge of an EV would cost around 200-300 baht.

Car service providers, such as taxi companies and rental cars, are the initial goals of Mine Mobility, said Thanapat Suksuthamwong, general manager of the subsidiary. There is no better way to display technology than to make people who drive long distances every day, he said.

"Public and private fleet operators have the potential to drive the capture of electric vehicles," said Caroline Chua, a BNEF analyst who covers renewable energy sources.

Mine Mobility car batteries will come from a lithium-ion battery plant that is being built. If the factory reaches its full capacity, Thailand catapult to third place worldwide at production.

Energy Absolute rivals Tesla to try to integrate all stages of the life cycle of the EV: generation of electricity, battery production, automobile manufacturing and installation of charging points. Tesla owners can recharge their cars at home with energy generated by solar panels and use batteries made with Panasonic Corp.

Energy Absolute plans two EVs more: a cheaper compact and a more expensive sports car.


Energy Absolute plans two EVs more: a cheaper compact and a more expensive sports car.

Tesla does not have a sales operation in Thailand, and the few models that are seen are delivered from places like Hong Kong, which means that they are subject to import taxes that can double the price of adhesion .

Thailand is the first country in Southeast Asia that offers incentives for manufacturers of electric vehicles and to reduce taxes on the sales of their cars. Companies can obtain fiscal expenses of companies for eight years, exemptions of import rights of machinery and parts and tax reductions.

According to BNEF, this combination of policies and incentives is the most advanced in the region. Indonesia said on June 19 that it would discount taxes on imports of electric and hybrid vehicles at the end of the month.

Energy Absolute has three EV models: the medium-sized ESP1 promised for the next year, and then a more compact and more economical sports car. It is building a 200 million Baht factory that can bring up to 10,000 cars as of this year.

However, there is still a long way to reach this volume, considering that in December there were only 1,454 registered vehicles, including buses and motorcycles. As a comparison, it is expected that China will sell triple this amount only on passenger cars every day of this year, according to BNEF calculations.

"Our goal is to introduce EV cars in the Thai market," said Amorn Sapthaweekul, Deputy Director General of Energy Absolute.

Energy Absolute has about 400 charging stations in Bangkok and plans to install another 300 this year. You want to have at least one loading point every five kilometers.

The EA Anywhere application allows EV drivers to locate and reserve sites to collect.

Although these domestic plans take shape, Energy Absolute projects its expansion as neighboring countries, including the targets of Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines for the adoption of passenger vehicles. Laos and Myanmar are also of interest.

"Thailand will be the leader of EV technology in this region," said Somphote. "We are the first, and this should give us a good start to develop technology."

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