Thailand Joins Southeast Asian Suitors to Tempt Tesla

US electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Tesla has entered the Thai market with two cars for sale, the Model 3 and Model Y.

The EVs were launched in Bangkok with prices ranging between 1.7 million baht to 2.5 million baht (US$48,800 to US$71,700) with deliveries set to start early next year, according to a Reuters report.

Following Tesla’s official entry into the competitive Thai car market the country’s Board of Investment (BoI) is said to be stepping up efforts to encourage the automaker to invest in Thailand, as the Southeast East Asian nation attempts to grow its domestic EV industry.

In an interview with the Bangkok Post, Secretary-general of the BoI, Narit Therdsteerasukdi, said Tesla may be interested in an EV investment project because the government has announced a clear policy to promote the new-generation cars.

“We believe it is a good sign that Tesla launched its cars in Thailand as this can boost the domestic EV market,” he said, adding that Thailand is the second country in Asean after Singapore where Tesla had launched its cars.

According to the BoI, Tesla is not participating in the government’s EV incentive package which grants excise tax cuts and subsidies to promote EV production and consumption in 2022 and 2023. Participating companies are committed to starting to produce EVs in Thailand from 2024.

By 2030, the Thai government wants at least 30% of vehicles produced in the country to be EVs.

Thailand’s Southeast Asian neighbor Indonesia has also made aggressive overtures to Tesla this year to establish both car and battery production plants in the country.

In its favour Indonesia has one of the world’s largest nickel reserves, the metal is the main material in the production of lithium-ion battery cathodes for EVs.

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