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Thai Interest in Electric Vehicles Shifts Amidst Consumer Preferences

Thai consumers’ interest in purchasing battery electric vehicles (BEVs) has declined over the past year, while hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) have emerged as strong contenders, nearly matching the interest in BEVs, according to a survey by the multinational consultancy Deloitte.

The 2024 Global Automotive Consumer Study reveals that the percentage of Thai respondents interested in buying a BEV has dropped to 20% this year from 31% in 2023. Conversely, interest in HEVs has surged to 19% from 10% in the same period. Despite internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles remaining the top choice, their preference has steadily declined, falling to 32% from 36%.

This trend of decreasing preference for ICE vehicles among Thai consumers is consistent with patterns observed in Indonesia, the Philippines, and China. However, it contrasts with trends in the United States, Japan, and Singapore, where ICE popularity has rebounded.

Deloitte conducted the survey among over 27,000 consumers from 26 countries between September and October 2023, with approximately 5,939 respondents from Southeast Asia, including around 1,000 Thai consumers. Additionally, Deloitte Thailand carried out a supplementary Thailand Automotive Consumer Survey in April 2024, polling 330 consumers.

The survey identified several key reasons why Thai consumers are inclined towards BEVs. A significant 73% of respondents cited fuel cost savings as a primary motivation. Environmental concerns were important for 71%, and 49% prioritized both personal and family health benefits and savings on maintenance costs.

In the case of HEVs and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), 73% of respondents were motivated by fuel cost savings. Moreover, 68% of consumers chose HEVs/PHEVs to alleviate “range anxiety” – the concern about the distance a BEV can travel on a single charge – while 37% aimed to reduce dust, smoke, and greenhouse gas emissions.

For those who prefer ICE vehicles, 78% cited a desire to avoid range anxiety and charging concerns. Additionally, 67% wanted to prevent unexpected costs associated with batteries or related systems, and 52% valued flexibility in maintenance and customization.

The survey indicates that Thai consumers are increasingly open to BEVs, with a general decrease in concerns from 2023 to 2024. However, the most significant concern remains the insufficient number of public charging stations, mentioned by 46% of respondents, down slightly from 48% the previous year.

Concerns about driving range have decreased from 44% to 39%, and the survey also found that Thai people are adapting to longer charging times. The most acceptable charging duration has shifted upwards, with 38% of respondents now finding a charging time of 21-40 minutes acceptable, up from 25% in 2023.

Home charging continues to be the preferred option in Southeast Asia, but there has been a notable shift in Thai consumers’ preferences for out-of-home charging options. The popularity of charging at petrol stations has increased from 26% last year to 34% this year. Additionally, the preference for “charge anywhere” options has surged from 5% to 29%, while dedicated BEV charging stations have seen a decline in preference, from 51% to 21%.

There has also been a slight upward shift in the expected charging range per charge, with 44% of respondents indicating a preference for a range of 300 to 499 kilometres in 2024.

Officials involved in the study included Mr. Thakur Yasaeng, Police Commissioner, and Mr. Prasertphong Sornnuwat, Consumer Protection Commissioner, among others who attended the survey’s presentation and analysis sessions.

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