Great Wall Motor, an automobile manufacturer based in the province of Hebei, China, intends to construct electric vehicle batteries in Thailand and may conduct research and development for battery electric pickup trucks. Thailand is the tenth largest automobile manufacturing economy and has a goal to convert 30% of its automobile production into electric vehicle production. The federal government is implementing tax incentives and subsidies to help fund this new EV battery pack manufacturing facility.
The company, which acquired a GM plant in 2020, has been manufacturing hybrid electric vehicles in Thailand since then — Haval hybrids. In 2021, Great Wall Motor launched the Ora Good Cat electric vehicle in Thailand. It is now the country’s best selling electric vehicle. In response to that success, the company intends to start manufacturing the Ora Good Cat EV in Thailand next year, priced at $24,475 (฿828,500 Thai baht). The government’s incentive scheme has requirements that are encouraging the use of local components.
The battery pack assembly facility could cost ฿500 million to ฿1 billion Thai baht. However, it could be upgraded in the future to manufacture the cells for the battery packs as well, according to Narong Sritalayon. Narong also said that the company could end up becoming a contractor that supplies electric vehicle batteries to other automobile manufacturers, which could lead to a huge expansion of the company’s manufacturing capacity and revenue.
For the moment, the Ora Cat 500’s battery is a 63.1 kW pack provided by CATL, a Chinese battery manufacturer that is the largest battery producer in the world, and SVOLT Energy Technology. A Great Wall subsidiary will produce battery packs in Thailand for now. The new facility should contribute to local job creation and boost Thailand’s already strong position in the EV manufacturing industry, and this is good news since it is an emerging industry on track to grow significantly for years to come.
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