Thailand is looking to increase electric vehicle (EV) production to 30% of the country’s total industry volume (TiV) over the next 10 years, the National News Bureau of Thailand reports. The plan to electrify cars, motorcycles and buses is part of the strategy to cut levels of hazardous PM2.5 air pollution that have plagued the country.

The country’s industry minister, Suriya Jungrungreangkit, outlined the goals of the development plan for the EV industry, stating that in the short-term, the aim is to produce more than 60,000-110,000 EVs, including public buses and electric motorcycles, while the medium-term goal is to produce about 300,000 EVs and smart city buses.

Ultimately, the target is to produce 750,000 EVs out of a total of 2.5 million cars made annually by 2030. He said the ministry of industry will accelerate an improvement in the quality of EVs and study guidelines for continual industry development, including that promoting the recycling of materials, to achieve a systematic vehicle management mechanism.

The government will also launch measures to encourage people to exchange their old cars for new ones, although these will not just apply for electric vehicles. The ministry plans to offer tax incentives for individuals and companies to exchange their old cars for new cars or EVs.

The ministry, working with the finance ministry, is proposing to launch trade-in coupons worth 100,000 baht each for individual car owners, who can also use their expense to reduce tax. Discussions are underway and the project is expected to be forwarded to the country’s cabinet for a final say within two or three months, the Bangkok Post reports.

Suriya said that the project involving the trade-in coupon scheme will be open to all types of car models, including EVs, and will run for five years, which will help restore the Thai automotive industry. “This is a quick-win project to help car manufacturers and related businesses crushed by the impact of Covid-19,” he said.

He expects EVs to become more popular, as it is one of the targeted S-curve industries supported by the government. In March 2017, the Thai Board of Investment (BoI) introduced EV privileges for car and auto component makers covering three types of EVs, namely hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-powered.

The privileges include a five to eight year tax holiday as well as import duty exemptions for cars and machinery. Manufacturing privileges were granted to 13 companies, including Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, SAIC Motor-CP, FOMM, Mitsubishi and Mine Mobility.

Earlier this year, the country’s government said a roadmap for the production of electrified vehicles – to begin within three years – would be finalised this year, with plans to have the country becoming a regional EV hub in five years. Meanwhile, some automakers have been waiting for greater clarity and direction from the government with regards to its EV policy before committing further into electrification.