Thailand’s Ministry of Industry on Friday unveiled a new smart-card scheme that will allow electric vehicle (EV) owners to make cash-free digital payments at all charging station across Bangkok early next year.
The Electric Vehicle Association of Thailand (EVAT) will launch the smart-card trial in Bangkok under a collaboration with its 11 partners, said EVAT President Krisda Utamote.
The move should help boost the national strategy for electric vehicles, which includes domestic manufacture of EVs and components such as batteries.
Krisda said the association is considering whether the system will use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) debit cards, RFID credit cards or even a mobile payment application.
If the system proves successful, the association will seek to expand it to charging stations nationwide, he said.
Currently, there are now 570 charging stations nationwide with a total of 1,800 charge-points.
However, that number is rising fast amid the trend for electric cars.
Thailand had 1,572 registered EVs last year, but that number rose to 3,076 as of June and is expected to hit 5,000 by the end of the year.
Charging stations are now popping up across the country, especially at department stores to serve shoppers who own EVs, Krisda said.
The Ministry of Industry pledged to make charging outlets for EVs more widespread, similar to ATMs, to help the Thai government reach its goal to increase EV production to 30 percent of total vehicle output in the country by 2030.