South Korean bus manufacturer TGM Co has teamed up with four Thai automotive companies to produce electric buses in Thailand.
TGM Co signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) yesterday with two companies that assemble buses, Act One (1994) Ltd and Bus & Truck, as well as with gas installer PLT Green and vehicle components maker Cobra International.
Under the terms of the deal, the Korean firm will provide its innovative technology, paving the way for electric buses to be built in Thailand soon.
TGM president Sehyun Cho said the company is ready to transfer its technology for electric buses and related components to Thai bus assemblers so they could develop their own eco-friendly buses in the future.
“With the Thai government’s strong commitment to promoting all types of electric vehicles (EVs) here, TGM is interested in making electric buses for the Thai market,” he said.
Under the MoU, TGM will provide a right-hand-drive electric bus at King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi for the purpose of research and development.
It will also enable local manufacturers to gain new knowledge of EV components like quick chargers, vehicle control units and electric batteries.
“TGM has its battery-swapping electric bus, which is the latest technology to change a battery instead of having to park the bus for charging,” Mr Cho said.
“TGM has been developing electric buses since 2010 and it now provides public transportation with eco-friendly buses at Mt Namsan in Seoul and in Jeju Island.”
Pichade Charoenkit, managing director of Act One (1994), said his company plans to assemble electric buses but lacks both the technology and a battery supplier.
He said Thailand has much potential to develop this environmentally friendly market, and gave the example of one group in Ratchaburi that produces 3,000-5,000 buses a year.
Mr Pichade said the government’s tax incentives for producers of electric vehicles will help fuel growth, but he suggested the government approach more foreign battery makers to invest in the country and help reduce local assembly costs.
Only seven electric buses were registered with the Land Transport Department in 2015 but this number jumped to 27 last year, statistics show.
In March, the Board of Investment approved certain privileges for makers of EVs, including tax breaks of five to eight years. These applied to hybrids, plug-ins and battery electric vehicles, including passenger cars and buses.
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