Mercedes-Benz Thailand (MBT) says that the lack of clear direction from the government in translating its EV policy into action may delay the company’s plans to build electric vehicles in the country, the Bangkok Post reports.
The company wants to see a “clear and sincere” investment policy, or else it will have to change its EV plans in Thailand, Federation of Thai Industries chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree said following a recent meeting with top Mercedes-Benz executives and the German ambassador to the country.
“Mercedes is not sure about the policy to support the Thai EV industry, because the government has taken no further action,” Supant said. He said that there has been no progress in updating the relevant regulations, and it was unclear when a charging station network would emerge. The automaker believes that the success of the EV policy will depend on the government leading by example and doing its bit to boost domestic demand for EVs.
The German automaker had previously announced aggressive plans to expand its EV presence in the Kingdom through local production of EVs and batteries. It had applied with the country’s Board of Investment (BoI) to join its EV incentive programme in late 2018, and has reportedly received the green light from the BoI but has yet to proceed with investment to start assembling battery EVs.
Last year, it had revealed that local EQC production was a possibility, and in February this year had announced that it would begin production of the EV sometime in 2021. It’s new battery manufacturing plant in Samut Prakan was opened in December last year, serving localised needs in the production of batteries for the automaker’s plug-in hybrids, with an eye on building EV batteries in the future.
Supant added that German companies have voiced concern about the business climate in Thailand following the Covid-19 pandemic, saying that they fear the government may refrain from giving aid to European companies.
“Many businesses have been affected by Covid-19, but they cannot access the state relief measures to help them. That’s because many German companies don’t borrow money from Thai commercial banks. But they too need the help,” he explained.
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