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Monday, April 22, 2024

EV Owners Demand More Charging Stations Along Key Thai Motorway

In a growing chorus of concern, electric vehicle (EV) owners are raising alarms about the paucity of charging stations, a pressing issue they grapple with, particularly when gearing up for journeys along the Korat-Bang Pa-in Motorway. As travelers make their way back to Bangkok and the central and eastern provinces, EV drivers find themselves navigating routes strategically, given the limited availability of charging infrastructure in these regions, mostly concentrated at specific petrol stations.

Among the scarce facilities catering to EV charging needs is the PTT petrol station on the Korat Bypass, a critical juncture for those traversing Highway 204—the Korat Bypass, a primary route connecting the upper northeast to the M6 Bang Pa-In – Nakhon Ratchasima Motorway, Highway 2, Mittraphap Road, and Highway 304, Nakhon Ratchasima-Kabin Buri.

At this particular station, equipped to charge two vehicles simultaneously, both charging ports witness a constant influx of EVs, forming queues as drivers patiently await their turn. The charging slots offer a brief respite of around 10-15 minutes, but adherence to a reserved queue is crucial, as any lapse within the stipulated five minutes results in immediate forfeiture to the next vehicle in line.

Weerawat Homklin, Sales Manager at the Intercontinental Hotel in Khao Yai, Korat, sheds light on a formidable hurdle faced by EV users across various provinces—the exorbitant costs associated with installing charging stations. As the government actively advocates for a transition to EVs to combat pollution, there is a growing call for robust support to the private sector or the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) to facilitate an increase in the number of charging stations, aligning with the escalating demand for electric vehicles.

Echoing these sentiments is an employee from a Bangkok-based company, who undertook a journey from Suwannaphum District, Roi Et Province. Having embraced an electric vehicle this year, he underscores the undeniable cost savings but emphasizes the imperative of meticulous route planning, underscoring the shortfall in charging stations.

Furthermore, his observations reveal that most encountered charging stations operate at a capacity of 25 kilowatts, a figure deemed insufficient for the evolving needs of EV users. He advocates for a significant boost, proposing a minimum of 50 kilowatts and, ideally, 120 kilowatts—a capacity that would not only accommodate but efficiently cater to the requirements of those embarking on extended journeys, especially during the holiday season. As the demand for electric vehicles continues to surge, stakeholders emphasize the urgency for a concerted effort to address the infrastructure gap and propel sustainable transportation into the mainstream.

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