Thai Petroleum Giant PTT Diversifies To Producing EV Batteries

PTT is currently creating an EV battery supply chain for Chinese automaker Neta in Thailand. 

Many often question what will happen to the current oil giants in this upcoming EV world, and the answer to that is simply for them to transition onwards to the next money-making opportunity in the energy sector. Such is like what has been demonstrated recently by Thai oil and gas conglomerate PTT, who has recently kickstarted production of lithium-ion batteries in its home region. 

Working together with Chinese EV battery maker Gotion Hitech, PTT has since established a production line the Rayong province of Thailand that is slated to churn out lithium-ion batteries with an initial production capacity of 2 gigawatt-hours annually. This is then expected to rise to 8 gigawatt-hours over the next few years to meet rising demand, according to PTT Chief Executive Auttapol Rerkpiboon.

Now the rationale behind its first-phase production capacity of 2 gigawatt-hours is such that it is equivalent to 50,000 EV battery packs, which will all be fitted into the 50,000 cars Horizon Plus aims to initially produce next year. And if that name rings a bell, this is because Horizon Plus is the company contracted to produce Neta EVs in Thailand from a licensing deal with Chinese automaker Hozon Auto. 

EV battery

More specifically, Horizon Plus is an EV joint venture owned 60% by PTT and 40% by Taiwanese chipmaker Foxconn. There is currently the ambitious target of producing 150,000 EVs annually by 2030 from this partnership, which will incidentally track with the 8 gigawatt-hours future production capacity of its battery production partner. 

Rather interestingly too on the battery production side of things, Thai coal mining giant Banpu has also joined PTT in this new business space. Reports suggest for their EV battery production operations are currently slated to begin by the first quarter of next year, with the aim to produce battery packs for the likes of Great Wall Motor.

The rush for these companies to enter the battery manufacturing sphere stems from the Thai government offering foreign EV makers tariff-free imports, on the condition they start making vehicles locally by 2024. There is therefore currently a substantial demand for a local battery supply chain, especially when considering the numerous automakers (mainly of Chinese origin) who have since set up shop in Thailand after accepting the aforementioned import deal. 

Li Zhen, chairman of Gotion High-tech, said Thailand’s plan to focus on EVs and energy storage has opened immense opportunities in the new energy industry, including EV batteries. “It also represents a significant milestone in Gotion’s global presence and brings Thailand closer to becoming a leader in the ASEAN battery market,” he added. 

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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