Report: Thailand to phase out gasoline-powered cars by 2035

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by Drei Laurel | Apr 23, 2021
PHOTO: Nissan

Big news from our neighbors over in Thailand. According to a report by Bloomberg, the Southeast Asian country has announced its intent to shift completely to zero-emission cars by the year 2035.

Kawin Thangsupanich, an adviser to Thailand’s Energy Ministry national policy committee, reportedly shared that the country is aiming to be part of the electric car industry’s post-COVID-19 growth.

“We can see the world is heading in that direction so we have to move quickly,” Thangsupanich said. “We want to capture that growth post-pandemic, and we have the ambition to be the production center because we already have the existing supply chains.”

The report adds that the nation hopes to have EVs account for half of all local car registrations come 2030. Currently, EVs only make up less than 1% of Thai cars.

Thangsupanich stressed that the government will need to find ways to get motorists to make the shift, too, such as tax incentives and regulations to encourage local EV manufacturing.

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Electric Vehicle Association of Thailand honorary chairman Yossapong Laoonual shared the same sentiments, saying waiting for people to shift to EVs “naturally” would take too long.

“As a producer, setting a clear target makes the country more attractive for investment,” Laoonual explained.

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So, why are we going on about Thailand finally making the jump to electric motoring? First of all, we’re jealous. And second, this move could directly affect the Philippine auto industry as well. Remember: The vast majority of our country’s best-sellers are manufactured in Thailand. These include midsize SUVs like the Toyota Fortuner and trucks like the Nissan Navara and the Ford Ranger. While Thai factories could theoretically still produce internal combustion automobiles but not sell them domestically, the Thai consumer shift will still send ripples throughout Southeast Asia. 

Could Thailand’s move be the spark the region’s EV industry needs? It’s very possible. Let’s see how this pans out.

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PHOTO: Nissan
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