BYD announced this week that it plans to build a factory in Thailand that will manufacture electric cars for the southeast Asia market. BYD will work together with WHA Group, the largest industrial developer in Thailand, to build a half billion dollar factory on 96 hectares (237 acres) of land in the eastern province of Rayong, according to a report by Reuters. The company expects to build 150,000 electric passenger cars at the new Thai factory starting in 2024. The plans for the new factory were approved by the Thailand Board of Investment last month.
Thailand is the second largest economy in southeast Asia and is a regional auto production and export base for many automakers, including Toyota and Honda. The government has recently begun offering tax credits and subsidies to attract EV makers and stimulate demand.
BYD has more than 30 factories around the world, including the United States, Japan, Canada, Brazil, Hungary, and India, but they are primarily focused on producing trucks and buses. The new factory will be the first for passenger cars outside China.
At a press briefing this week, Liu Xueliang, BYD’s general manager Asia-Pacific sales, said the Thai factory will start by producing the Atto 3 battery electric SUV. The company is also considering manufacturing batteries and other auto parts in Thailand if demand warrants. The Thai government wants electric vehicle production to reach about 700,000 by 2030, or 30% of its total auto manufacturing, according to Reuters.
BYD says the Atto 3 is the first SUV built on BYD’s e-platform 3.0, specially designed for high-performance electric vehicles with four significant advantages: intelligence, efficiency, safety, and aesthetics. The platform improves EV safety and battery performance as well as optimizes the driving experience. It creates a new generation of smart electric vehicles that are more efficient and safer. The Atto 3 uses BYD’s Blade battery technology and is already being marketed in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and India. There are plans to export it to Europe as well.
BYD Eyes Australian Market
Reuters says BYD intends to sell 10,000 passenger cars produced at the new factory to customers in Thailand and export the rest to other markets, primarily in southeast Asia. At this week’s press conference, Liu Xueliang said the Atto 3 can be specially configured for the Australian market. One of the most popular vehicles in Australia, the Ford Ranger, is manufactured in Thailand.
The Driven reports that deliveries of the Atto 3 have already begun in many parts of Australia. The first cars were delivered to customers in Queensland this week. At the BYD Experience Center in South Australia, customers can view the Atto 3 up close and personal. Deliveries are expected to begin in that state and in neighboring Victoria soon.
CleanTechnica’s David Waterworth says ordering an Atto 3 in Australia is as easy as ordering take-out food. Everything is done seamlessly online and the wait for delivery is about 3 months at present. BYD is allocating 1500 cars a month to customers in Australia, but with the new government of Anthony Albanese taking a much more favorable approach to the EV revolution than former PM Scott Morrison, orders for electric vehicles Down Under could increase dramatically in coming months.
The Atto 3 is priced at AUD 44,990 to 47,990 (US $32,350 to $34,500), making it significantly more affordable than any models currently available from Tesla. Elon, please take heed.
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