KUALA LUMPUR: The government’s push towards the use of electric vehicles (EVs) in Malaysia is motivated by the need to reduce carbon emissions, to draw in investments and to create employment opportunities. Malaysia also needs to catch up with neighbouring automobile producers that are shifting their focus to EV production.
There are plans to expand the utilisation of electric buses and EV taxis as part of Malaysia’s efforts to encourage consumers and industry to shift from fossil fuels to electricity. However, despite improvements in public transportation, private transportation is still important due to commuters’ poor accessibility to public transportation.
The establishment of Proton and Perodua, under the national car policy in the 1980s, contributed towards the increase of car ownership. Low-cost versions of existing models from foreign technology partners produced by these companies were affordable and protected from foreign competition.
Unsurprisingly, most Malaysians, including half of the poorest 10 per cent of households, can afford to own cars and continue to see private car ownership as a necessity.
UNAFFORDABLE FOR THE AVERAGE MALAYSIAN
EVs can penetrate the Malaysian market at a meaningful rate only if they enter the mass instead of niche market. Budget 2022 provided incentives to hasten EV adoption, such as exemptions from all import duties and excise taxes, but although such incentives reduce the price of EVs, they remain unaffordable for the average Malaysian.
Now, EVs range from just over RM150,000 (S$53,600) to almost RM700,000 for individual buyers.
Perodua’s sales of conventional models continue to dominate the domestic car market, at 37.4 per cent in 2021. These were led by sales of the Myvi, Malaysia’s top selling car. A Myvi costs about RM46,500 to RM59,900, just over a third of the price of the cheapest EVs.
Buyers from lower income groups, first-time car owners, and second car users are Myvi’s prime consumers.