S'pore EV operator gains Thai foothold in bid to expand

SEV said that it will supply at least 1,000 electric cars and no fewer than 1,000 electric scooters to Planet EV. PHOTO: SEV

SINGAPORE - The largest commercial electric vehicle (EV) operator here is exploring plans to expand its business into the Thai tourist hot spot of Pattaya.

SEV said on Thursday that it will supply at least 1,000 electric cars and no fewer than 1,000 electric scooters to the newly established EV unit of Thai-listed telecom equipment distributor Planet Communications Asia.

Planet EV, as the unit is called, aims to make sustainable transport available at hotels, tourist attractions and the airport in Pattaya in the pilot programme.

Users will be able to book the vehicles online and return them at designated locations within the city.

The move, which comes at a time when Thailand is upping efforts to promote sustainable tourism, will see the two companies install EV charging points and battery-swop stations in Pattaya.

Planet EV could also sell EVs to commercial users such as taxi and car-rental companies, as well as food delivery platforms.

If the pilot is successful, it could pave the way for SEV to supply more EVs in Thailand and take the home-grown start-up to a new level of growth.

General manager Steven Kwek said: "Working with Planet EV will give us an immediate foothold (in Thailand) as we can leverage its local networks and contacts to make EVs more readily available at tourist spots."

SEV is an authorised distributor of EVs in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

It has 45 EV charging points at its Singapore headquarters in Ubi Avenue and a fleet of around 200 BYD e6 electric cars, most of which are leased out to drivers on ride-hailing platforms Gojek and Grab, with expectations of taking delivery of 300 more.

SEV is exploring plans to expand its business into Pattaya. PHOTO: SEV

Planet EV's chief operating officer Kittapart Wiriyachanta said: "SEV has demonstrated its ability to scale up quickly and make significant inroads into the Singapore EV market. We believe (SEV) is the ideal partner for us as we seek to do the same in Thailand."

Despite high costs and strains along supply chains, EV sales have risen worldwide, backed by growing climate change awareness and strong policy support.

Two million EVs were sold globally in the first quarter of this year, up 75 per cent from the same period last year, according to the International Energy Agency.

The number of EVs on the world's roads by the end of last year was about 16.5 million, triple the amount in 2018, it added.

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