Bangkok – US-based automaker Tesla’s ambition to establish an electric car factory in Thailand encounters a possible setback due to challenges in city planning.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin led a team in discussions with Tesla executives at the company’s headquarters on November 14 last year.

According to the Prime Minister, Tesla is anticipated to make an announcement in the first quarter of this year regarding the potential establishment of a factory in Thailand.

However, the plan faces hurdles as Tesla explores the feasibility of building on a 2,000-rai (320-hectare) plot of land. Insights from a source, shared with Thansettakij, a media outlet of the Nation Group, revealed that Tesla’s visit to potential factory locations highlighted the scarcity of land available from government and private agencies.

“This poses a challenge as it typically requires 1,000-2,000 rai of land to develop an industrial estate,” stated the source.

They noted that Chinese automaker BYD managed to sidestep this issue by utilizing a smaller 600-rai (96-hectare) plot for its factory.

Tesla is now eyeing a land parcel in Bangkok’s Lat Krabang district, but uncertainties remain whether a deal can be finalized without encountering city planning obstacles.

In response to these challenges, Prime Minister Srettha has instructed Industry Minister Pimphattra Wichaikul to engage in discussions with the Interior Ministry’s department of public works and town and country planning. These discussions aim to address concerns related to industrial city planning.

The directive follows complaints from investors regarding the lack of support for projects involving industrial city planning since late last year.

“For example, a Japanese investor proposed a canal excavation project but faced resistance from local communities,” explained Government House.

“Additionally, Tesla’s requirement of up to 2,000 rai of land for potential electric car production faces obstacles in the current city planning framework.”