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Going electric at the 39th Bangkok International Motor Show

POSTED BY Yamin Vong ON 28 March 2018

The Bangkok International Motor Show (BIMS) is the best place to keep abreast with the latest 4×4 pick-up trucks as Thailand has long been the global hub for Japanese pick-up trucks.

Living up to this tradition, Motorme.my went up close to the renowned Ford Raptor, which had been tested by automotive journalists a few months earlier. It will set a new price benchmark when it is launched for sale later this year at THB1.7mil (RM211,000).

This year, however, we were surprised to see the traction electric vehicles (EVs) had gained in Thailand.

There were four EV manufacturers exhibiting at BIMS – two Japanese joint ventures (JV), BYD from China and Energy Absolute Public Company Ltd (EA), a Thai-listed company.

BYD displayed its BYD e6 at THB1.89 million (RM235,000) with expected delivery within two months. The BYD e6 is a purely-electric D-segment MPV with seating for five and has a maximum range of 400km. The BYD e6 is widely adopted as a taxi in Shenzhen, China.

What was most interesting was the Mine Mobility exhibition booth by EA, a company that had agreed to a JV with a fellow compatriot, Mine Mobility Research.

Wanswad Prinyawat, technical director of Mine Mobility

“We are planning to have a pre-launch – proof of concept event – at the end of the year and ramp up one model for manufacturing by next year,” said Mine Mobility’s technical director Wanswad Prinyawat.

“Our price point is one million Thai Baht,” said the 50-year-old.

There were various electric cars such as the Takano and motorcycles including the Munro to excite the masses.

A mechanical engineer from Chulalongkorn University, where he was classmates with the owner of EA, Prinyawat said his R&D company had developed three prototype models before setting up a JV with EA for the commercialisation of Mine Mobility next year and making it the first Thai EV.

The EV for commercial launch will employ a traction motor from China and will have a range of 200-250 km.

Even global names such as Mercedes-Benz saw the opportunity to introduce some of its electric technologies to the public.

“We know that there is a range anxiety in Thailand and to overcome this, we already have about 300 charging points distributed within Bangkok and its suburbs. We will have 1,000 charging points by the end of the year,” said Prinyawat.

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