World En­ergy Group teams with six over­seas com­pa­nies on US$760m project to build elec­tric ve­hi­cles lo­cally

Mo­tor­cy­cles, cars and parts to be pro­duced un­der multi­na­tional deal


World En­ergy Group Co has teamed up with six over­seas com­pa­nies to spend US$760 mil­lion (25.1 bil­lion baht) for mak­ing elec­tric ve­hi­cles (EVs) lo­cally.

The Bangkok-based com­pany signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing yes­ter­day with two Chi­nese EV mak­ers, BAIC In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment and Ben­ling; three dis­trib­u­tors, In­ter­plan of Nige­ria, Legacy Im­pex of In­dia and In­dawan En­ter­prise of Malaysia; and a Thai EV bat­tery maker, Beta En­ergy So­lu­tion.

They will pool their ef­forts un­der the name ETA to start pro­duc­ing EVs and parts, cov­er­ing mo­tor­cy­cles and cars. The pro­duc­tion plant is in Bang Phli district, Sa­mut Prakan.

Pres­i­dent Ratthakrit Ne­ti­rathanonku­l said $600 mil­lion of the to­tal bud­get is slated for EV car assem­bly un­der a joint ven­ture be­tween World En­ergy and In­ter­plan. A ma­jor stake of 80% is owned by In­ter­plan, while World En­ergy holds the rest.

The EV fac­tory is sched­uled to start op­er­a­tions over the next two years with a ca­pac­ity of 10,000 cars a year.

The re­main­ing $160 mil­lion is for EV mo­tor­cy­cle assem­bly, which falls un­der the joint ven­ture be­tween World En­ergy and Ben­ling. A 70% stake of that ven­ture be­longs to the Thai side, and the rest to the Chi­nese firm.

The mo­tor­cy­cle fac­tory will start op­er­a­tions in Novem­ber, with an­nual max­i­mum ca­pac­ity of 60,000 units.

“Other part­ners will be the com­pany’s sup­pli­ers and over­seas dis­trib­u­tors,” Mr Ratthakrit said.

He said the com­pany has not been awarded any in­vest­ment priv­i­leges from the Board of In­vest­ment, since it im­ports EV parts from China to as­sem­ble ve­hi­cles in Thai­land.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Ratthakrit,

World En­ergy can of­fer af­ford­able prices of 55,000-89,000 baht for mo­tor­cy­cles and 300,000 baht for cars be­cause of the im­ported parts.

“I tar­get sales vol­ume of 1,000 city cars and 10,000 mo­tor­cy­cles by 2018,” he said. “In 2020, the com­pany will ex­port 60% of its to­tal out­put to Nige­ria, Ethiopia and In­dia.”

Un­der the spec­i­fi­ca­tions, World En­ergy’s EV cars can drive 150-400 kilo­me­tres per charge and the EV mo­tor­cy­cles have a range of 150km.

Apart from EV pro­duc­tion, World En­ergy also plans to spend 300 mil­lion baht to build 500 nor­mal charg­ing sta­tions. The charg­ing sta­tions can be lo­cated at homes, uni­ver­si­ties, depart­ment stores and com­mer­cial build­ings.

Some 4,500 quick charg­ing sta­tions will be in­tro­duced na­tion­wide by 2023.

World En­ergy, a sub­sidiary of rice ex­porter T Group, was founded in 2012 with reg­is­tered cap­i­tal of 10 mil­lion baht.

Men work on BMW’s plug-in hy­brid assem­bly line in Ray­ong prov­ince. A newly formed con­sor­tium called ETA will make elec­tric ve­hi­cles in Sa­mut Prakan.

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