Sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in Thailand increased almost fivefold to 100,219 units in 2023 from 20,816 units in the previous year, according to the Electric Vehicle Association of Thailand (EVAT).

The data showed sales of battery powered four wheel vehicles and over amounted to 77,860 units last year, including 76,366 light passenger vehicles, 276 light trucks and 1,218 public transportation vehicles.

EVAT also revealed battery powered motorcycle sales amounted to 21,937 units, while sales of electric three wheel tuk tuks amounted to 432 units.

The market was driven by generous purchase incentives and cuts in import duties from the Thai government with the aim of switching around 30% of total vehicle output in the country to zero emissions by 2030.

Under the new EV3.5 programme, which came into effect at the beginning of 2024 until 2027, the Thai government cut its BEV purchase subsidies to between THB50,000 and THB100,000 (US$1,410-$2,820) for vehicles costing up to THB2m and with a battery size of at least 50 KWh, while smaller BEVs now qualify for subsidies ranging between THB20,000 and THB50,000 ($563-$1,410).

The BEV market last year was driven primarily by imports from China with BYD selling 30,500 vehicles including 12,500 Atto 3 models, as well as the Dolphin and Seal.

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By GlobalData

Other key players in Thailand’s BEV segment include China’s Hozon with 12,780 Neta sales, SAIC-MG with 12,760 units, Tesla with 8,200 units and Great Wall Motors with 6,750 Ora sales. The company launched local production of the Ora Good Cat BEV earlier this month.

The Thai government expects BEV imports to peak this year before significant production is localised with between 350,000 and 525,000 BEVs expected to be produced annually by 2026.