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BMW unit to settle EV plant plan by year-end

BMW Group Thailand will finalise its plan to build an electric vehicle (EV) factory in Thailand within this year as the Munich-based premium car manufacturer joins other automakers worldwide in seeking to take advantage of opportunities in the EV industry, which is being strongly backed by the government.

“We expect an investment plan will be concluded in the next 1-2 months as we need to have further talks with our parent company and Thailand’s Board of Investment before making a final decision,” said Alexander Baraka, president and chief executive of BMW Group Thailand.

ฺBMW sees the high-growth potential of the country’s EV industry, following continuous support from the government, he said as the automaker yesterday launched its battery-driven BMW i5 model.

In February last year, the government launched a package of incentives including tax cuts and subsidies to promote EV consumption and production during the period 2022-2023.

Mr Baraka said the company will not wait for the launch of a new package as it believes its customers in the premium car segment have a high level of purchasing power.

Industry Minister Pimphattra Wichaikul vowed last month that her ministry would step up efforts to pass a new EV incentive package.

Krisda Utamote, BMW Group Thailand’s director for corporate communications, said the company is considering two choices in terms of the EV assembly plan in Thailand — upgrading its existing factory, which makes internal combustion engine-powered cars to include an EV production line, or building a whole new EV plant.

BMW has already invested in the expansion of car production capacity at its factory in Rayong to serve growing consumer demand.

During the first nine months of this year, BMW saw its EV sales in Thailand skyrocket 331% year-on-year to 940. Total BMW car sales during the same period stood at 11,156.

At present, the firm jointly operates 335 EV charging stations, with up to 1,000 chargers to serve motorists. The facilities are run under a cooperation with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand and Evolt Technology Co.

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