A renewable energy company in Thailand aims to build electric vehicles to aid in the country's ambitions to have at least 1 million electric vehicles on its roads by 2025.

Bangkok-based renewable energy company Energy Absolute is attempting to pull off the feat but is facing some challenges. Most electric vehicle manufacturers started out as traditional carmakers or are startups building their platforms from the ground up. Energy Absolute is unique as it started out as an energy company, mainly producing biodiesel.

In March, the Thai government had set a goal of having at least 1 million EVs by 2025 and as much as 15 million by 2035. The government is aiming to achieve this goal by supporting domestic efforts and gradually replacing private and commercial vehicles with their electric counterparts.

Energy Absolute was founded by former securities trader Somphote Ahunai in 2006. The company went public in Thailand in 2013 before expanding into other businesses such as energy storage. In 2016, the company acquired Taiwan-based energy storage manufacturer Amita Technologies.

In 2019, Energy Absolute announced that it would be expanding into the commercial EV business, with plans to build electric delivery vans, buses, and trucks. The company is currently in the final stages of finally building its planned $3 billion battery gigafactory, which will mainly produce lithium-ion batteries for electric cards.

Ahunai said that the government's push to promote electric vehicles in Thailand has helped his company expand into the sector. Apart from soon becoming the only EV manufacturer in Thailand, Ahunai said he had urged the government to further open its economy to create a more favorable business environment for international players.

Thailand already produces EVs for Japanese, American, and German manufacturers, but despite its auto-making skills, the country lacks an internationally known vehicle brand of its own. Energy Absolute plans to change that, and the company thinks commercial EVs will be the way for it to become recognized internationally.

When the pandemic hit, the company had to adjust its initial foray into electric vehicles. As tourism declined in the country, a local taxi company canceled its order for 3,500 five-seater EV hatchbacks. Energy Absolute then decided to shift its focus to commercial vehicles and battery storage.

To support its planned fleet of commercial EVs, the company said it plans to install 1,000 charging stations across the nation over the next few years. Ahunai said they have already rolled out around 500 charging stations, mainly in Bangkok and in surrounding areas.