Our neighbours up north are really taking off and embracing the coming wave of electrified vehicles, with great government policies that make it favourable for manufacturers to set up shop. According to Bangkok Post, DTS Draexlmaier Automotive System Thailand will be starting the production of batteries for BMW's electric vehicles from July onwards. The plant output will be supplied to BMW's Rayong plant, just 14 kilometres away, for the many plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) that they plan to build there.
The first models to receive these Thailand-produced batteries will be PHEV variants of the 5 Series and 7 Series. PHEVs are a fairly large market for the Thai market, with 800 wallbox chargers supplied to customers across the country and 121 ChargeNow charging stations and plans to increase the network to 150 chargers by the end of 2019.
Of the four stages of building an EV battery, the plant is capable of doing the final two stages: module production and pack assembly. This differentiates it from other plants which will only focus on pack assembly, but this new plant is also not able to do component and cell production - the first two stages of the process.
All of this would not have been possible without Thailand's Board of Investment approving the 540 million baht necessary for land purchase and factory build up and outfitting back in November of last year, which in turn won EV privileges - or rather, it would have been possible but not a very favourable option for BMW.