Thailand’s government has brought forward to 2035 the date at which it wants only purely electric vehicles to be sold. It also announced that by the end of this decade, electric vehicles should account for 50 per cent of all new car registrations, up from the 30 per cent previously planned.

“We can see the world is heading in that direction, so we have to move quickly,” Kawin Thangsupanich, adviser to the Energy Ministry’s national policy committee, is quoted as saying in a report by Bloomberg.

Kawin also outlined how the now fixed deadline for ending the sale of internal combustion vehicles is to be supported by a series of incentives for electric vehicles, from tax breaks and purchase bonuses to charging infrastructure investments and regulations for the manufacture of electric vehicles.

The automotive industry is one of Thailand’s most important sectors. According to Bloomberg, it accounts for about ten per cent of the economy and employs 850,000 workers. About half of the cars produced in Thailand are exported to countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, Kawin said.

From being Southeast Asia’s hub for conventional car production, Thailand now wants to become a hub for electric cars. “We already have the existing supply chains,” Kawin told the news agency. “By taking a clear stance, the country hopes to become more interesting for investors. Thailand wants to put its know-how in the production of cars on the line.”