Southeast Asia Becomes the World’s Hottest Electric Vehicle Market

According to its latest SE Asia Passenger Electric Vehicle Tracker, global research firm Counterpoint Research’s, Q2 2023 battery electric vehicle (BEV) research found unit sales in the region grew by 894%, driven by strong demand across Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

Counterpoint highlights that base effects are in play as markets are very early stage, but significant progress is being made with electric vehicles (EV) share of overall passenger vehicle sales rising to over 6% during the quarter, with key Asian original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) capitalising on strong initial demand.

“What we’re seeing is just the beginning with SE Asia’s biggest markets starting to scale. It’s happening as government efforts to promote electrification dovetail with a flurry of products coming online that might not be budget, but are a lot more accessible to more buyers in the region,” says Soumen Mandal, Senior Analyst for Automotive at Counterpoint. “Vietnam and Thailand are great examples, with automakers introducing lower-priced models targeting the broadest range of consumers.”

“The result has been a big decline in prices over the past year as OEMs like Vinfast and BYD introduced cars with better sticker appeal. Comparing the top 5 best sellers YoY, prices have come down over 20%.”

Chinese OEMs are set to become the biggest beneficiary of SE Asia’s appetite for EVs over the short term, and Thailand will be a hot spot as this new breed of automakers sets up shop in the Kingdom – the region’s auto manufacturing hub; traditional players like Toyota are leaving the door open as they falter in the transition to EVs.

“There’s a big window of opportunity especially for someone like BYD, which has enjoyed a massive home market head start,” notes Ivan Lam, Senior Analyst for Manufacturing at Counterpoint. 

“Scale and end-to-end manufacturing prowess gives it a competitive advantage few EV players can match – affordable cars, robust supply, more frequent product launches. This might not sound exciting in terms of traditional combustion engine vehicles, but in EVs, it’s revolutionary.”