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Thai company plans 1,000 electric-vehicle charging stations

Energy Absolute hopes broad infrastructure accelerates demand for such cars

BANGKOK -- Thailand's Energy Absolute looks to establish and operate 1,000 electric-vehicle charging stations in the country by the end of 2018, investing a projected 600 million baht ($18 million).

The renewable energy company, which has debuted a free charging service at two shopping centers in the Thai capital of Bangkok, will develop the stations under the EA Anywhere brand. Energy Absolute will focus on the capital area first, with expansion to regional gas stations planned for later.

Energy Absolute, which listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand in 2008, also produces biodiesel fuel. The company posted group net profit of 3.2 billion baht on 10.4 billion baht in sales for the year that ended in December, and now looks to diversify into markets related to electric vehicles.

Only around 30 electric-vehicle charging stations existed in Thailand as of March. Six of those are operated by oil and gas company PTT, which intends to have 20 locations within the year. German automaker BMW also plans to open 50 stations.

The Thai government aims to attract production sites for cutting-edge electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. But domestic demand has been limited, hindered by a lack of charging infrastructure and high vehicle prices. Energy Absolute hopes the project also shows whether large-scale charging infrastructure lifts demand for electric vehicles.

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