National electric vehicle policy committee: The beginning of the next-generation automotive industry


by Industrial Research Division, Thailand Automotive Institute
from Automotive Navigatior Magazine issue Jan-Mar, 2020

Automotive Industry is a significant drive in Thailand's economy over six decades. Starting from import substitution industrialization, then turn to be a production base as well as export to the global market. The success does not happen accidentally but because the government has pushed strategy plans along with devoted work by the private sector. Therefore, Thailand becomes the top 10 rankings of global car production and the biggest production base in Southeast Asia. Nevertheless, there is a saying ‘to become the 1st is not as hard as to remain it’. Thailand has developed the domestic industry and the neighboring countries are doing the same. They are inventing their competitiveness to replace Thailand’s position. Due to the long supply chain which able to create a great deal of value to the economy since manufacturing until the services sector into downstream industries.

Whilst, global production and trade are in aggressive competition, on the other side human being are confront the environmental crisis due to consuming resources in economic activities. The road transportation is the major factor of increasing greenhouse gas which is the root of climate change. Consequently, the developed countries and car manufacturers are aware of those problems. Some states regulated more strict emission standards to decrease greenhouse gas. Also, manufacturers are improving technology to be less emission and more efficient. One of those alternatives is motor-driven technology or “Electric vehicles”.

In order to conform to changes in both the business competitiveness and environmental protection, Thailand’s government issued the policy to promote electric vehicle since 2015. On the cabinet resolution that the next-generation automotive industry is one of ten targeted industries to be a key-driven the future. In 2017, the cabinet approved the measures to promote electric vehicle production in Thailand. Moreover, one of the key development from The 20-Year National Strategy is developing future industries and services by shifting the automotive industry to ‘the smart electric vehicle industry’. By laying the development plans from the bottom to the top of automotive production.

The transition period effect the supply chain since product line, consumption behavior, infrastructure, as well as, related rules and regulations. As a result, transformation to electric vehicle production is quite difficult although there are several efforts from both the government and private sectors. The next-generation vehicle is not only a motor-driven car but also include connected, autonomous vehicle and shared mobility which Thailand does not have related policy yet. If the government could utilize those technologies, they will decrease air pollution, traffic congestion, road accidents, and help people to mobilize in the most efficient way.

On September 2nd, 2019, Thailand Automotive Institute proposed ‘Thailand vision on future mobility’ to stakeholders also suggested measures to achieve the targets. As mentioned above, the next-generation vehicle is more complicated and affects the social and economy in terms of environment, technologies, supply chain, business form, and controlling system. In order to achieve the goal, the collaboration between government and private sectors is essential. Establishing ‘the national automotive development committee’ is the first priority to cooperate between related organizations along with pushing and evaluating the implementation. 

On February 7th, 2020, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, prime minister, signed the order of office of Prime Minister no 38/2563, subject notification on appointment of national electric vehicle policy committee so as to drive the electric vehicle industry in the most efficiency and effectiveness way, as well as, integrate the operations. Composition of the committee as following; 
1) Prime minister or assigned deputy prime minister, committee chairman
2) Industry minister, committee
3) Transport minister, committee
4) Energy minister, committee
5) Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Finance, committee
6) Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Transport, committee
7) Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Energy, committee
8) Secretary, Board of Investment, committee
9) Secretary, Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council, committee
10) Chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, committee
11) Chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, committee
12) President of The Thai Automotive Industry Association, committee
13) Mr. Bundhit Eua-arporn expert, committee
14) Mr. Werachet Khan-ngern expert, committee
15) Mr. Siri Jirapongphan expert, committee
16) Mr. Yossapong Laoonual expert, committee
17) Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Industry, committee and secretary   
18) Director, Office of Industrial Economics, committee and assistant secretary
19) Director, Energy Policy and Planning Office, committee and assistant secretary

Authority and responsibilities as following;
1. Deciding the direction and goal of electric vehicle development to comply with the 20-year national strategy and related cabinet resolution

2. Considering and approve plans and projects from government agencies that involve electric vehicle development to comply with the 20-year national strategy and related cabinet resolution

3. Integrating and evaluating the result of the electric vehicle propel framework. Advising on related suggestions to create concrete practice from the electric vehicle development policy along with reporting the operation to the cabinet

4. Establishing committee, sub-committee or other working groups to support the committee’s duty as appropriate

5. Carry out other related duties as the cabinet or prime minister assign

In fact, in 1969-1977, Thailand had Automotive Industry Development Committee: AIDC which drove the automotive policy and operation to be the real manufacturing industry. The important measure is to specify the quantity of local content that strengthened the component supply chain until now. Thus, ‘the National electric vehicle policy committee’ is the beginning of transitioning to the next-generation automotive industry. Another turning point of the automotive industry to maintain leadership in the region and value in the economy.

Thailand Automotive Institute, as one of the organizations that support the industry to compete in the global stage, has prepared supporting plans for those policy. In 2020, it is scheduling to open the ‘Electric Vehicle Battery Testing Laboratory’ at Automotive and Tyre Testing, Research and Innovation Center: ATTRIC in Sanam Chai Khet, Chachoengsao. The testing laboratory was supported by Thai Industrial Standards Institute: TISI, Ministry of Industry and TUV SUD (Thailand) Limited. The laboratory could support the entrepreneur by minimizing the cost and time of testing oversea. In the first stage, the lab is able to provide 5 from 9 testing lists as regard of UNECE R100 consist of mechanical integrity test, external short circuit protection, overcharge protection, over-discharge protection, and over-temperature protection test. It is expecting to be full-service testing in 2021 and the most complete testing center in Southeast Asia. This is not only supported the local entrepreneur to compete in global standards but also encourage the battery research and development in order to enhance the automotive industry to be high value-added production.

By Next-Generation Automotive Research Center, Industrial Research Division, Thailand Automotive Institute

News more