German luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz says it will apply for Thai Government incentives to produce fully-electric vehicles in the Kingdom with the first models rolling off production lines this year.

At the same time Mazda has said it will invest in producing hybrid electric cars in the Kingdom, and Toyota said its first hybrids assembled at its Thai factory will hit the market this year.

The site where the Mercedes lithium-ion batteries would be made is at Thonburi Automotive Assembly Plant where production of Tata vehicles once took place.

Mercedes plans to assemble 5,000 cars annually but that number could easily be doubled.

Manufacturing electric vehicles (EVs) and promoting advanced automotive technologies are among the 10 targeted industries under Thailand 4.0, the 20-year national strategy to advance the Thai economy through green and higher technologies, research and development, innovation and creativity.

As such, the Board of Investment (BoI) has created a package of generous incentives for those who invest in those industries.

“The government’s EV policy is the best automotive roadmap in Southeast Asia and it is also in a line with Stuttgart-based Daimler’s strategy for its electrified vehicles’ footprint,”

“Although the market for EVs of all types in Thailand is still very small, sales of Mercedes’ vehicles of all types in the Kingdom were up 23% in 2017 to 14,484 cars,” said a source.

In the longer run, the factory – whose announcement and launch ceremony will be held next month – will also supply full-electric models like a GLC-sized SUV as the battery plant can cater to all kinds of EVs.

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