Thai energy company Energy Absolute plans to build a lithium-ion battery plant to cater for what it foresees as a fast growing market for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles and energy storage products in the country.
The Thai stock exchange-listed company is shifting its focus away from solar and wind power in favour of what it sees as a more dependable growth segment of the energy market.
It expects to complete a THB5bn (US$162m) first stage manufacturing plant investment by July 2020, bringing online one gigawatt hour (GWh) of energy storage capacity annually in Chachoengsao province, just east of Bangkok.
Energy Absolute is looking to position itself at the centre of what it sees as a major shift in demand towards electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in the country in the coming years, as well as for energy storage products.
The company also plans to have in place 1,000 electric vehicle charging points across the country by the end of 2019 and has entered into binding agreements with Caltex petrol stations, Bridgestone service outlets, 7-Eleven convenience stores and Robinson department stores to launch its recharging network.
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When battery production facility comes on stream in the middle of next year, Energy Absolute expects it will help reduce prices of electric vehicles in the country to as low as THB500,000-600,000.
Energy Absolute recently acquired a majority stake in Taiwan's Amita Technologies for THB3bn, giving it access to the firm's lithium-ion battery production technology, according to local reports.
The company expects ultimately to invest around THB100bn (US$3.2bn) in this sector to raise its battery production capacity to 50GWh by 2022 as it looks to export its batteries to global markets.
Founder and chief executive Somphote Ahunai said his company "is ready to catch the next big wave of growth through innovation by banking on a future served primarily by energy storage and electric vehicles".