automotive material test

Towards a New Growth Engine

Recent policy announcements aim to solidify Thailand’s ambition to be  SE Asia EV manufacturing hub. Safety considerations will play a significant role in this.

Mr Hadi Sanjaya Sim
Program Manager, Product Services - Commercial/EV
TÜV SÜD Thailand

Thursday 28 July 2022

Thailand has long been recognized as the automobile production hub in South East Asia. The country produced over two million vehicles before the pandemic-induced lockdown in 2019. While this figure dropped to about 1.4 million in 2020 due to the Covid outbreak and resultant supply chain disruptions, by 2021 the industry was in a recovery mode producing over 1.6 million vehicles.

The industry has consistently contributed about 10% of the nation’s GDP and a similar proportion of its exports. Therefore, to say that the automobile industry is strategic to the Thai economy would be an understatement.

As the Electric Vehicle (EV) revolution gathers steam around the world, a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimates that by 2025, the South East Asian region could have 59 million electric two- to three-wheelers and 8.9 million electric cars, comprising approximately 20% of passenger automobiles on the road.

EV cars

Given the importance of the automotive industry to the economy, the government of Thailand is going all out to boost Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) production as well as their popularity in the local market. Undoubtedly, the fact that such move will accelerate the nation transition to its global commitment of going carbon neutral by 2050 and achieving a zero-greenhouse emission target by 2065 also plays a crucial role in government’s plan.

In 2015, Thai government identified the EV industry as the new engine of growth in its 20-year strategic plan. It announced several measures for EV production and incentives to boost research and development related activities. Two years ago, the government announced a policy that by 2030, all government-owned cars and public fleets would be Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEV). The most recent 30/30 electrification policy also stated that by 2030, 30% of all new vehicles produced in Thailand are projected to be ZEVs.

The National EV Policy Committee set ambitious targets for xEV production (Hybrids, EVs and Fuel Cell EVs powered by hydrogen) -- 1.05 million units in 2025, 6.22 million in 2030, and 18.4 million in 2035. EV use is targeted to be 1.50 million in 2025, 5.41 million in 2030, and15.58 million in 2035. The government also plans to have 12,000 fast charging and 1,450 battery swapping stations by 2030.

To encourage this transition to the EV ecosystem, the government announced a four-year incentive package starting in 2022. The package focuses on the consumer end in the first two years by providing subsidies and tax breaks for buying EVs. In the last two years, the incentives’ focus shifts to encouraging local EV production. Similarly, investments in setting up charging stations will attract exemptions from corporate income tax.

One of the essential pillars of the success of Thailand’s EV policy will be the focus on product quality and safety through conformity testing. Given the country’s position as the leading automobile manufacturer in South East Asia, such component testing ecosystem already exists for conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) powered vehicles. It will have to build something in the EV space. A dedicated testing infrastructure and availability of local supply chain producing EV components will be required for Thailand to secure its xEV production target and increase local content.  

As a global EV testing and certification leader, TÜV SÜD is keen to play its part by partnering with government bodies and manufacturers to accelerate electromobility transition in Thailand. 

Our global network of state-of-the-art laboratories has accumulated decade-long of experience in performing wide range of battery testing parameters, covering key battery safety and performance test such as shock vibration, environmental simulation, salt-spray, IP dust/water resistance, and life cycle testing. Our holistic approach coupled with interdisciplinary expertise and reputation as the independent and impartial technical service provider has helped automobile companies and EV battery makers around the globe in ensuring product safety and accelerating access into the market.