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China establishing EV auto research institute to boost battery powered travel  

Friday, December 8, 2023

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China is set to establish the China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC) in Thailand, marking its fourth such facility globally, according to an announcement by the Thai government on Friday. The move is aimed at facilitating Chinese electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers in Thailand, which has become a regional hub for automaking.

Thailand’s attractive government tax incentives and subsidies have already enticed Chinese automakers like BYD and Great Wall Motor, who have committed to investing $1.44 billion in new production facilities in the country. CATARC, an auto research institute affiliated with the Chinese government, already has centers in Germany, Switzerland, and Japan.

As Southeast Asia’s largest car producer and exporter, Thailand has traditionally been dominated by Japanese manufacturers such as Toyota Motor Corp and Isuzu Motors. However, the Thai government aims to convert about one-third of its annual production of 2.5 million vehicles into electric vehicles by 2030. To achieve this goal, they are preparing additional incentives to encourage more investment and the transition to EV manufacturing.

The current government subsidies, which can reach up to 150,000 baht ($4,265) per car, have contributed to the growing popularity of electric vehicles in Thailand. In the second quarter, Thailand accounted for approximately half of all EV sales in Southeast Asia.

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin recently revealed that he showcased an industrial estate to Tesla executives as a potential investment opportunity. This move signifies Thailand’s commitment to becoming a significant player in the electric vehicle market and attracting global industry leaders to invest in the country.

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