Taiwan smartphone manufacturer Foxconn and national Thailand oil supplier PTT have embarked on a $1-2 billion deal to establish an electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing plant in Thailand, targeted to rollout units by 2023.
Foxconn and PTT are eyeing the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), a special economic zone in eastern Thailand, as a possible site for the plant, which will have a production capacity of 50,000 units by 2023 and 150,000 by 2030.
In June, Foxconn and PTT signed a cooperation agreement to work on electric vehicle production. The partnership is held by PTT Public Company Limited (PTT) with 60% and Foxconn holding 40%.
“This initiative will not only help increase business potential on the world stage but also respond to the government policy and direction of promoting electric vehicles, which intend to accelerate the electric vehicle industry to be one of the outstanding S-Curve industries,” said PTT Chairman Auttapol Rerkpiboon.
Foxconn is vocal about its plans to become a leader in the EV industry and had previously stated its intention to construct factories in both Thailand and the US by 2022. It is now collaborating with Fisker on a U.S. manufacturing facility that will also begin production in 2023 under Project PEAR.
The smartphone manufacturer has ambitious plans for growth that it wants to achieve within the next five years. Last year, Foxconn released its own electric vehicle platform aimed to become “the Android system of the EV industry.”
Thailand as a future EV hub
China remains the world’s largest global EV market, but it has been facing overcapacity for the last few years. As such, other players in the region like Thailand, are rapidly growing their markets for electric vehicles. Thailand also has its own lithium deposits, making it an attractive market for batteries.
The Thai government has published a national EV strategy early this year, and it is working hard to create a master plan to make Thailand an EV manufacturing superpower. The overall plan will include not only EVs but also battery production and supply infrastructure, as well as policies for establishing charging stations and power grid management, among other things.
Over the last three years, popular global car brands launched individual projects to tap into Thailand’s lithium resources and its potential as a regional hub for EVs. These projects include local production for plug-in hybrids (Mercedes) and a new battery test centre in Bangkok (TÜV Süd).
According to analysts at Baker McKenzie, Thailand is in a great position to push the future of the EV industry. They said that while the road ahead will be long, significant progress has already been made.
“Once all EV elements are in place, we expect that Thailand will be positioned as one of the world’s busiest EV manufacturing hubs, an exciting EV market and a leading contributor to global environment solutions,” they added.