Thailand’s renewable energy company has electric vehicle ambitions

Many individuals believe that in the future, electric vehicles will be commonplace in a world powered by renewable energy. However, few EV companies began as renewable energy businesses. Bangkok-based Energy Absolute is one startup attempting to achieve this goal. In 2019, the biodiesel and renewable energy firm expanded into the commercial EV market.

Thailand established a target of 1 million electric cars on its highways by 2025, with the hope of increasing that number to 15 million ten years later. This would encompass not only personal vehicles, but also business vehicles such as delivery vans, lorries, and buses.

Somphote Ahunai, a veteran securities trader, founded Energy Absolute in the year 2006. In 2013, he went public in Thailand, and in 2016, he began growing into energy storage by purchasing shares in the Taiwan-centered Amita Technologies, which is an energy storage producer. It is now in the final phases of constructing a $3 billion lithium-ion battery gigafactory project.

According to Ahunai, the government’s attempts to boost Electric Vehicle adoption in Thailand aided him in starting the project, and now he’s encouraging the government “to expand the market and develop a favorable regulation for the EV market,” according to CNBC’s “Managing Asia.”

The epidemic, on the other hand, has hampered the company’s move into electric vehicles.  As tourism declined, a local taxi firm canceled an order for about 3,500 5-seater hatchbacks. Ahunai quickly shifted its focus to commercial cars and battery storage.

“Many manufacturers are concentrating on passenger cars. “Not many people are working on commercial vehicles yet since they can’t figure out how to make them charge faster and last longer,” Ahunai explained. In the next three years, Ahunai plans to add 1,000 charging stations across the country.

“We have about 500 charging stations countrywide, mostly in Bangkok and the surrounding areas,” Ahunai said, stressing that the company controls nearly 80% of the charging station market in Thailand. His emphasis on commercial vehicles aligns with Thailand’s goal of putting 70,000 commercial electric cars on the road each year.

“If we can guarantee [the commercial electric car] category, then we’ll be able to expand into other categories,” such as passenger automobiles, Ahunai said. Thailand has produced automobiles for Japanese, American, and German manufacturers, but despite its auto-making expertise, the country lacks an internationally known automobile brand of its own. Electric vehicles, according to Ahunai, have the potential to change that. Energy Absolute should be at the forefront of that effort, according to him.

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