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Sino-Thai EV battery plant starts operations

By YANG WANLI in Rayong, Thailand | China Daily | Updated: 2023-12-08 07:17

Thailand's first domestic EV battery pack production plant begins operations on Thursday. [Photo by  YANG WANLI/CHINA DAILY]

Under joint efforts, venture expected to give impetus to industry in SE Asia

Thailand's first domestic electric vehicle battery pack production plant went into operation on Thursday. The plant, run jointly by Chinese battery cell manufacturer Gotion High-tech and Thai company Nuovo Plus, is expected to give Southeast Asia's EV industry a boost.

Focused on the import, assembly and distribution of battery modules and battery packs for energy storage systems and EVs, the plant will deliver high-quality lithium ion batteries with an initial production capacity of 2 gigawatt-hours per year.

Production capacity will expand to 8 gigawatt-hours per year in future, which can meet the power demand of 200,000 EVs. Batteries from the plant will be available in the market as soon as this month.

It took only 11 months for the plant to start operations since a contract was signed between Thailand and China last year, marking a new record in the history of Gotion, said Li Zhen, chairman of Gotion High-tech.

"This is a new start in Thailand with great vitality, as a revolution is now coming strongly with the energy storage of solar and wind power as a key role," he said, adding that the EV market in Thailand has great potential, as EVs currently constitute only a tiny portion of the country's total vehicle number.

"Under joint efforts from China and Thailand, the domestically-made high-quality battery will contribute to the sustainable development (of the EV industry) not only in Thailand, but also in Southeast Asia," Li said.

Official numbers from Thailand showed that the country had more than 140,000 newly registered 4-wheel EVs during the nine months to September, amounting to more than a quarter of the total 520,000 registered vehicles during the period.

According to consultancy firm Deloitte's 2023 Global Automotive Consumer Study, nearly 60 percent of Thai respondents said they would choose an EV for their next car.

Robust supply chain

The Southeast Asian country has set its sights on fostering the growth of its domestic EV industry and establishing a robust supply chain for the production of EV batteries. To achieve this, Thailand's National Electric Vehicle Policy Committee has outlined an ambitious target of having zero-emission vehicles account for 30 percent of the local automobile production by 2030.

Auttapol Rerkpiboon, chief executive and president of PTT Public Company that owns Nuovo Plus, said the company is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 by bringing high-quality battery technology and innovations to the industry.

In addition to localizing battery production in Thailand, he said the joint venture will also create a base for battery exports to other countries.

"The operation of the plant is an important step in elevating Thailand from being an importer into being a producer and … (becoming) a lithium battery exporter in the future," he said.

With the collaboration with Gotion, the venture will support the Thai automotive industry in developing further as an automobile production base in the region, while also contributing to Thailand's new energy goals.


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