Kasikorn Research Center (K-Research) forecasts the number of electric vehicle (EV) families will increase sharply in 2019, even as the overall car market in the country dips slightly.
The families of EVs consist of three types - hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery EVs.
The research unit projects EV units will reach 37,000-38,500 in 2019, with growth of 76-83%.
"Positive momentum is expected to continue from 2018 EV sales, which are projected to reach 21,000 EVs, up by 75%," K-Research said.
"This year hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions are the main contributors to the EV market, with 12,200 and 8,745 units sold, respectively, while only 55 battery EVs were sold."
The centre said two positive factors will drive EV sales in 2019. The first is new investment from EV manufacturers, with some already implementing their EV projects this year after winning Board of Investment (BoI) incentives, such as Toyota, Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
Honda recently announced that it would grant privileges for hybrid EVs from early 2019 onward.
"There are eight carmakers who are considering joining the BoI's scheme for plugin hybrid and battery EVs," said K-Research. The application deadline is Dec 28.
"In 2019 there will be plenty of new EV versions in the Thai market, and the new models will enjoy a reduction in excise taxes that are lower than for conventional cars, making retail prices more affordable."
K-Research said the second factor is new government policy, particular to encourage six eco-car manufacturers to make electrified eco-cars that offer incentives for eco-carmakers.
The Industry Ministry will roll out this incentive framework by the end of 2018.
"We forecast this programme will stimulate a sharp growth of electrified cars in 2019, especially for the hybrid eco-cars, which are expected to be marketed in the initial stages based on readiness of technology, cost and business opportunity," K-Research said.
"The eco EVs will also enjoy a reduction in excise taxes, similar to other EV versions, so the prices of hybrid eco-cars may come close to conventional car prices."
K-Research added plug-in hybrid and battery versions for eco EVs are faced with difficulties - the automotive industry has to wait for technological readiness and the cost of lithium-ion batteries has to decline more to meet economies of scale.
As a result, hybrid EV sales will grow sharply by 106-114% to 25,100-26,050 cars in 2019 and battery EV sales will stand at 400-450 cars, a leap of 627-718%.
On the contrary, K-Research forecasts the overall car market in Thailand will contract slightly by 2-5% to 980,000-1,010,000 cars in 2019.
"There will be some fragile factors - a high level of household debt and a restriction to approve hire-purchase loan from banks, although the market will have positive factors from newly launched models, upcoming general elections and new investment from public and private sectors," K-Research said.
For 2018, K-Research projects 1.03 million cars will be sold, a 18% rise from 2017, exceeding 1 million units sold for the first time in five years.
Apart from EV families, the conventional eco-cars are leading with 37% growth to 171,000 cars sold in 2018, thanks to an upcycle trend of oil prices.
News from: Bangkok Post