Now here’s something rather novel. Instead of waiting for carmakers to slowly introduce electric vehicles, the Thai government – via the state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) – is planning to develop its own EVs. But instead of creating a battery-powered car from scratch, it plans to use used cars as shells!

According to the Bangkok Post, Egat wants to modify used internal combustion engined cars to EVs, and is targeting commercial sales in 2020. There will be a trial period to determine the cost of modification.

Jiraporn Sirikum, assistant governor for research, innovation and business development, said the organisation is teaming up with the National Science and Technology Development Agency to modify three popular compact cars – the Toyota Vios, Honda Jazz and Nissan Almera – for the trial.

“The cost to modify used cars is expected to be around 300,000 baht (RM39,541) to install vital EV components, such as lithium-ion batteries and electric motors, compared with around 500,000 baht (RM65,901) before,” she said, adding that the price of batteries have declined globally.

Jiraporn said a modified EV would be much cheaper than buying a new EV. According to the report, Egat’s goal is to increase the number of EVs on Thai roads at a fast pace, instead of merely waiting for the launch of new EVs by the carmakers. The organisation will invite private garages to take part in the project.

The EVs from carmakers are slowly streaming in – Hyundai launched the Kona Electric in Thailand recently, joining the Ioniq Electric, while MG is preparing the eZS electric SUV. The Nissan Leaf has been on sale from December 2018. What do you think of this old car to electric car plan, though?