Mitsubishi Motors has applied to join the Thailand Board of Investment’s (BoI) electric vehicle scheme, which dishes out promotional privileges to carmakers to produce hybrids, plug-in hybrids and full electric cars in the kingdom.
This comes despite an apparent freeze on applications by the BoI, which has awarded only one permit to Toyota since mid-2017, the Bangkok Post reports. Applications for the plug-in hybrid and full EV schemes are open till December 28 this year, while applications for hybrids ended last year.
The hybrid category has seen Japanese mass market players Toyota, Honda, Mazda and Suzuki apply (Nissan is yet to decide), while German premium brands Mercedes-Benz and BMW have gone for the PHEV and EV categories. MMC will go the PHEV route, before eventually introducing full electrics when charging infrastructure improves.
“Once the country has plenty of EV charging stations, battery EVs will be added to our timeline. Until December, we are making our decision on EV models and investment details, which we expect to disclose very soon,” said Osamu Masuko, MMC’s CEO.
“Our concern is to balance conventional cars and EVs because once EVs make up the majority of the market and conventional cars need to be phased out, we will have to shut down our engine plant, axeing many employees,” he added.
Masuko was in Thailand to celebrate Mitsubishi Motors Thailand’s five millionth car produced at its facility in Laem Chabang, Chon Buri. Of that, 3.7 million units were exported to 120 countries, making MMC the second largest auto exporter in Thailand after Toyota. The carmaker operates three production sites and one engine factory in Laem Chabang. MMC’s first overseas R&D proving ground outside Japan is also loacted in the same province.