The e-buses will supplement the public transport services of Thai Smile Bus Company Limited and its subsidiaries in Bangkok, covering 122 routes, nearly half of the city's total public bus routes.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Energy Absolute signed a 3.9 billion Thai baht (about $110 million equivalent) loan to Energy Absolute Public Company Limited (EA) for the purchase of up to 1,200 electric buses (e-buses). These e-buses will displace internal combustion engine buses in Bangkok, supporting the use of clean public transport in Thailand.

The financing package comprises 1.3 billion Thai baht loans each from ADB, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and Export-Import Bank of Thailand (EXIM Thailand), with ADB as the mandated lead arranger-mobilizing both international and domestic private sector capital. The total project cost is up to 6 billion Thai baht. ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility also provided technical assistance on the public bus electrification market study.

The e-buses will supplement the public transport services of Thai Smile Bus Company Limited and its subsidiaries in Bangkok, covering 123 routes, nearly half of the city's total public bus routes.

'This project will result in reducing air and noise pollution as well as greenhouse gas emissions. It is one of the first large-scale financing initiatives for e-buses in Thailand, showing its potential impact as a way of greening other public transport systems in the region,' said ADB Director General for Private Sector Operations Suzanne Gaboury. 'Collaborating with EA, a longstanding partner, ADB has mobilized climate financing to accelerate the deployment of the e-buses and deliver a better commuter experience that is also efficient and environmentally friendly.'

Manufactured in Thailand, the e-buses consist of at least 40% locally sourced materials, including EV batteries. The project will make meaningful contributions to Thailand's climate ambitions by diversifying the transportation mix in favor of e-buses and to Thailand's policy to develop the EV industry.

'We are focused on expanding into new businesses, building upon the strengths of our current operations, and through the support of ADB, JICA, and EXIM Thailand. We aim to be Thailand's leading clean energy innovation company with businesses that cover all aspects of energy management and electric vehicle ecosystem development (EA's EV Ecosystem),' said Energy Absolute PCL Deputy Chief Executive Officer Amorn Sapthaweekul. 'We will achieve this through advanced and environmentally friendly technology for the benefit of all, and through the confidence and mutual investment of our partners.'

EA's focus on renewable energy, green transport, and e-mobility aligns well with ADB's development priorities. ADB will collaborate with EA to develop a gender action plan to improve women's safety in public transport and foster staff awareness of gender equality.

Established in 2006, EA is one of the largest renewable energy companies in Thailand operating four solar and eight wind power projects. With 64 subsidiaries, mostly in the energy sector, EA has pioneered and expanded into sustainable transport, e-mobility, and EV charging infrastructure in the country. ADB engaged in financing arrangements with the company for its maiden green bond issuance in 2019, its first certified green loan financing in 2020, and its electric ferries financing in 2022.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members-49 from the region.

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