4000km, one EV, zero arguments - from Thailand to Singapore and back

Kimberley Ng
2022 - Spin9 TH-MY-SG road trip - CarBuyer Singapore - aticharn and sueching bmw ix3 m sport front exterior marina bay sands

Thai content creators Aticharn Cherngchavano and Sueching Chin made the ultimate inaugural EV Southeast Asian road trip in their BMW iX3

Photos by spin9


Over 10 days in July, Thai content creators Aticharn Cherngchavano and Sueching Chin did what previously might have been conceived as impossible – driving from Thailand to Singapore (and back) in an electric vehicle. 

Covering 4,143km between 8 to 17 July, the couple hopped in their BMW iX3, hoping to be the first to make the trip in an EV. 

The pair also filmed the experience – as content creators do – for their YouTube channel titled Spin9. With more than 670,000 subscribers the channel covers tech gadgets, air travel, and cars. 

This isn’t the first time the pair have put an EV to the test though – earlier this year, they put the Mercedes-EQ EQS 450+’s claimed range of 770km to the test.

The passing factor? Driving it from Bangkok to Chiang Mai without stopping to charge it. 

The result? An hour-long YouTube video with 1.5 million views. And counting.

We put the EQS to our very own test too

2022 - Spin9 TH-MY-SG road trip - CarBuyer Singapore - spin9 bmw ix3 m sport charging in thailand

With the quoted 450km of range the BMW iX3 has however, a trip of 4,143km from Thailand to Singapore will have you looking for at least nine charging stops. And that’s not accounting for juice used up for air-conditioning and other functions.

But how was this road trip conceived you ask? Back in Thailand, the pair took the Porsche Taycan they own from Bangkok to Sueching’s hometown of Hat Yai, which borders Malaysia.

The trip to Hat Yai in their Taycan had Sueching thinking about driving to Malaysia once the borders opened. As a joke of course, because who could drive from Thailand to Malaysia in an EV?

Range anxiety is a very real thing and there simply isn’t the infrastructure to support that! (Read in the tone of various yet-to-be EV converts out there.) 

Aticharn took the gag one step further and joked about driving to Singapore. 

The pair first made the switch to electric two years ago, with a Porsche Taycan as mentioned earlier. As a car reviewer, Aticharn felt like owning an EV would be a challenge after reviewing countless EVs. A challenge that thrilled him. 

2022 - Spin9 TH-MY-SG road trip - CarBuyer Singapore - spin9 bmw ix3 m sport thailand driving rear exterior

The EV infrastructure in Thailand may have been in its early days when they made the switch, but that failed to deter them. “We know our lifestyle, we’re not driving more than the range of the EV battery in one day anyway,” Sueching shares.

Similar to the challenge of owning an EV, Aticharn saw the chance of driving to Singapore in an EV as another thrill.

According to him, EV drivers in Thailand are able to plan their long drives by looking for DC fast-chargers. All that has to be factored in is simply the time taken to charge. 

So applying the same principle to the Southeast Asian ‘Autobahn’ (or rather Malaysia’s North-South expressway) shouldn’t be a problem right?

Right. Until they actually reached Malaysia.

2022 - Spin9 TH-MY-SG road trip - CarBuyer Singapore - spin9 bmw ix3 m sport malaysia driving front exterior left

The country’s largest EV charging network, ChargEV, threw a spanner in their works. “You need to register, but with a local phone. Then you need an annual subscription, and the chargers only work with a physical card.” 

Without a local phone nor address, the pair were lost.

While a road trip is often a true test of how strong a relationship is, a road trip in an EV – the first of its kind on the route – and your planned stops not cooperating? 

Adversity proved no match for the lovebirds, who shared that “One of the things we need to remind ourselves is that everything can go wrong with trips like this. And this is what we signed up for, so if things go wrong we are not going to blame each other.”

2022 - Spin9 TH-MY-SG road trip - CarBuyer Singapore - spin9 bmw ix3 m sport charging tangkak shell johor

A relationship is after all both parties against a problem, not each other.

“It’s good for the relationship too,” Sueching shares. 

Luckily for the pair, crossing the border into Singapore was deemed a highlight of their trip. 

Despite the breath of relief having made it here, a Tesla driver known as SGpikarchu on Tik Tok – AKA the Singaporean who went handsfree with his Tesla’s Autopilot engaged in Malaysia – reached out to the pair. Turns out he was doing the same trip too, but in the opposite direction. 

2022 - Spin9 TH-MY-SG road trip - CarBuyer Singapore - spin9 bmw ix3 m sport joo chiat peranakan houses right exterior

Despite worries they would no longer be the first (known) people to make the trip, it soon became clear that the Tesla driver arrived in Bangkok on July 14, two days after the BMW iX3 arrived here.

When we had the chance to speak with them, we had to ask the number one question on every Singaporean’s mind – is Singapore ready?

In this case, the proverbial ‘ready’ refers to LTA’s plans for full adoption of EVs by 2040.

2022 - Spin9 TH-MY-SG road trip - CarBuyer Singapore - spin9 bmw ix3 m sport charging singapore fusionopolis

The verdict? Singapore is more than ready. “DC chargers are all around, they’re everywhere,” says Aticharn. Indeed they are, with more on the way by 2030.

“You don’t have that range anxiety. Living in Singapore and driving an EV? I would feel pretty relaxed knowing that there are so many charging stations,” proclaims Sueching.

During their time in Singapore, we had the pleasure of taking the Spin9 team out for the Singaporean breakfast of champions, kaya toast (as proven on live television during the most recent National Day broadcast).

It was over breakfast where we teased the possibility of driving further up to China, or even Russia in an EV. 

“Don’t put ideas in his head!” Sueching exclaims, flashbacks of this trip immediately glazing over her eyes.

Fair enough, being the first to drive over 4,000km in an EV through three countries certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. Driving all the way up North? Maybe one day.

2022 - Spin9 TH-MY-SG road trip - CarBuyer Singapore - spin9 bmw ix3 m sport driving marina bay sands left exterior

But the moment of truth came at the end of the trip when Aticharn finally tallied the numbers upon arriving back in Thailand. 

The entire journey consumed 847kWh, and involved 18 stops consisting of 15 DC charging and 3 AC charging.

Not bad against our earlier calculation of at least nine stops based on the iX3’s quoted range. And that’s without factoring in other uses of the car like air-conditioning.

When asked how the iX3 ended up here — since the pair own a Taycan — Sueching mentioned how her back was already aching riding in the electric sedan to Hat Yai. Put her in the same seat and add a few thousand more kilometres? 

2022 - Spin9 TH-MY-SG road trip - CarBuyer Singapore - spin9 bmw ix3 m sport marina bay backdrop front exterior left

For those planning their own EV trips now, regular DC charging (50kW) or even AC charging could be a good excuse to stay overnight and explore the towns you’ll be passing through. Stuffing your face with the culinary greatness our side of the world has to offer is always a plus as well.

But apart from proving that EVs are more than capable of doing cross-border trips with good planning, the couple have also proven that a strong partnership is needed to withstand one. 

2022 - Spin9 TH-MY-SG road trip - CarBuyer Singapore - aticharn and sueching bmw ix3 m sport rear exterior marina bay sands

“A car is a very small space. I think it’s a test, but it’s also romantic,” Aticharn shares. Similar sentiments as certain government officials who feel the same about small spaces

For now though, the couple are taking a well deserved rest and don’t have plans to do a trip further up north — as suggested by us. But they did turn it around and propose that we here at CarBuyer Singapore take the trip up to visit them. 

Who knows? You might see us behind the wheel in Thailand soon.


bmw ix3 electric vehicle EV EV charging spin9

About the Author

Kimberley Ng

The youngest and shortest of the CarBuyer Singapore bunch, Kimberley is the proud owner of a Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk1...diecast from Shuco. She runs the CarBuyer Singapore Tik Tok @carbuyersingapore. For unrelated purposes, her favourite song is Fast Car by Tracy Chapman. Special talents include impressions of famous rapper Lil' Jon. [email protected]/@kimmyk7

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CarBuyer – Revolutionizing The Online Car Marketplace In Singapore

Buy Used And New Cars Online
Start your car buying journey with CarBuyer as we connect you seamlessly to the industry’s best CaseTrust-SVTA accredited car dealerships. As a one stop car online portal you can now buy your new ride, be it a pre-owned car or a brand new car from trusted dealers all over Singapore, all in one place. Our ever expanding listing of quality and covet-worthy cars, new and second hand, from both owners and trusted car dealers, will leave you spoilt for choice. Refine your search by vehicle type, registration year, price, mileage, engine type, transmission, annual depreciation value and more to find the car that best suits your needs, taste and lifestyle. You can even search for your car by dealer or directly by owner.

Sell Your Car In An Instant With Confidence
We all know how selling a car in Singapore can be a daunting task especially for a first time car seller; from trying to get a valuation for your car, finding a trusted dealer, to getting the best quote on your vehicle. CarBuyer understands the hassle and even the costs involved and have as such partnered with Huawei to develop a FIRST in Southeast Asia AI car valuation tool that is able to provide a car’s resale value at the snap of a finger. Backed with a consortium of trusted CaseTrust-SVTA accredited car dealers you can be assured that you are getting the best price for your vehicle and do not have to worry about any hidden costs.

The Ultimate Car Shopping Experience Online
CarBuyer platform is the first of its kind to be backed by Huawei’s Artificial Intelligence and cloud computing, enabling it to be able to offer users transparency and enhanced security, all with the one aim of enhancing customer experience. So come on over to buy and sell used cars online at the best prices at CarBuyer Singapore. Connect easily with dealers in real-time via our online video call feature, or schedule a test drive when you’re ready. Have some questions? Get them answered instantly with our chatbot moderated by our responsive team. Stay in the loop with our car-related tips, reviews and news. Learn the ins-and-outs of your car, as well as global and Singapore’s car updates at your own pace.