Singapore companies are penetrating the sustainable mobility sector in Thailand
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: Singapore companies are penetrating the sustainable mobility sector in Thailand

Sustainability has become a key priority for the Thai government, which has an ambitious electrification plan for the country's vehicles. PHOTO: AFP

Thailand’s giant automotive industry is proving a tempting target for ambitious Singapore firms keen to grab a slice of the fast-expanding “eco-vehicle” segment.

Singapore companies Charge+ and Sleek EV have already set up shop in Thailand, where sustainability goals and rapid urbanisation are turbocharging the development of electric vehicles (EVs).

Sustainability has become a key priority for the Thai government, which has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent to 40 per cent from existing levels by 2030, and to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2065.

The country has also embarked on an ambitious electrification plan with the launch of its 30@30 target, which aims to have EVs accounting for 30 per cent of its automotive production and for domestic adoption of electric cars and pickup trucks to reach 50 per cent by 2030.

The government has begun prioritising sustainable electric mobility through partnerships with multinationals and local conglomerates keen to green their fleets or processes, with the aim of creating an ecosystem that includes EV manufacturing, battery storage systems and charging infrastructure.

The attraction for Singapore firms is even more apparent once Thailand’s geographical and economic links to several markets in the region and established trade links with major economies such as China, Japan and the United States are factored in.

But Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG) said that Singapore companies looking to break into Thailand’s highly competitive automotive industry will need to be familiar with the gaps in the sector or find a strong local partner with the contacts and networks to open the right doors.

That seems to be the strategy of Singapore company Charge+, a provider of EV charging solutions.

It opened its Bangkok office in the middle of 2022 to serve EV drivers across residential, commercial and industrial properties in the country, and has an ambitious plan to build a 5,000km EV charging highway through Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Thailand is at the centre of the network, hence the firm’s sizeable presence there.

That has led it to join forces with HAUP, a Thai car-sharing company, to help the firm expand its fast-growing fleet of EVs and build more charging stations.

The stations will be open to all users, including existing HAUP EV drivers, and will give Thai consumers a wider array of car-sharing options.

Charge+ chief executive Goh Chee Kiong said: “Thailand is attractive in terms of being the largest EV market in this region now, buoyed by its pro-EV policies regarding EV adoption and manufacturing.”

Sleek EV is another Singapore-headquartered company that has also tried to tap Thailand’s sustainable mobility sector.

It chose Thailand as its first market expansion due to its strong potential for EVs in South-east Asia.

Sleek EV aims to accelerate the transition from internal combustion engine motorcycles to electric ones. Its software-driven approach streamlines the production and sales process for dealers and customers.

EnterpriseSG’s extensive network has played a pivotal role in connecting Sleek EV with potential customers in Singapore and Thailand.

Since its inception last September, Sleek EV has received more than 1,000 pre-orders, demonstrating strong demand for electric motorcycles.

Mr Kow Juan Tiang, EnterpriseSG’s executive director for South-east Asia, said the trade agency works with stakeholders “to raise awareness of Singapore companies’ capabilities and provide market advisory for Singapore companies”.

It also organises regular virtual and physical networking events, as well as one-on-one conversations between Singapore companies, the Thai government and corporates.

Events like these raise awareness and build mindshare of the Singapore players in the sustainable mobility space among Thai stakeholders in the public and private sectors.

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.