In a bid to encourage the use of alternative energy instead of fossil fuel, Thailand’s department of land transport has announced incentives for those who use clean energy vehicles. This will come in the form of cheaper annual vehicle tax for electric vehicles, The Nation reports.

According to the department, the tax for a passenger electric car with not more than seven seats will be calculated according to the weight of the car at the same rate as a fossil-fuel seven-seat passenger vehicle.

Vans, trucks, motorcycles as well as road rollers, tractors used in agriculture and taxicabs running between provinces running on electric power will pay half the tax of a vehicle of the same type using fossil fuel. For example, personal motorcycles that use fossil fuel pay an annual tax of Bt100 per vehicle, while electric motorcyles will pay Bt50.

The department’s deputy director-general for operation, Jantira Buruspat, said the move is part of the campaign to improve the air quality. She said that the increase in particulate matters smaller than 2.5 microns were affecting people’s health and impacting on their quality of life. A separate news report indicated that the air quality over the weekend in six Bangkok districts were at unsafe levels.

She said that as of December 31, 2019, there were 40,712,043 vehicles registered in the country, of which 27,749,524 were gasoline-powered vehicles and 11,294,017 were running on diesel. While only 2,854 electric vehicles are registered, the total including 117 electric buses, the adoption of hybrid electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids is far more encouraging, with a combined total of 153,184 vehicles registered.

Thailand is looking towards electrification, and wants to encourage automakers to build more EV or hybrid vehicles in the Kingdom. The government is set to draft a roadmap for the production of electrified vehicles to begin within three years, and says it must be finalised this year. Tax breaks have been planned, with an excise tax exemption being offered to automakers producing EVs in the country from 2020 to 2022, compared with an excise tax rate of 2% in normal cases.