EVs, Changing the Game of Transportation

An EV is a shortened acronym for an electric vehicle. EVs are vehicles that are either partially or fully powered on electric power. Electric vehicles have low running costs as they have less moving parts for maintaining and also very environmentally friendly as they use little or no fossil fuels (petrol or diesel). While some EVs used lead acid or nickel metal hydride batteries, the standard for modern battery electric vehicles is now considered to be lithium ion batteries as they have a greater longevity and are excellent at retaining energy, with a self-discharge rate of just 5% per month.

There are two main types of electric vehicles:

Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Fully powered by electricity. These are more efficient compared to hybrid and plug-in hybrids.

Advantages of a BEV:
  • Creates very little noise
  • No exhaust, spark plugs, clutch or gears
  • Doesn’t burn fossil fuels, instead uses rechargeable batteries

BEVs can be charged at home overnight, providing enough range for average journeys. However, longer journeys or those that require a lot of hill climbs may mean that the fuel cells require charging before you reach your destination, although regenerative braking or driving downhill can help mitigate against this by charging the battery packs. The typical charging time for an electric car can range from 30 minutes and up to more than 12 hours. This all depends on the speed of the charging station and the size of the battery.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV):
Uses both an internal combustion engine and a battery charged from an external socket. This means the vehicle’s battery can be charged with electricity rather than the engine. This makes them better for travelling long distances as you can switch to traditional fuels rather than having to find charge points to top up the battery.

Advantages of a PHEV:
  • Go electric-only on a day-to-day basis
  • Faster charging due to a smaller battery

  • With electric vehicles still sanding on some pretty strong legs in both the car and heavy truck world, many motorists and commercial fleets still have reservations, especially when it comes to the price tag.
A survey conducted in USA showed

62% of new car buyers believe they will own at least one full-electric vehicle in their household within 10 years or less. Of those who anticipate having a full-electric vehicle in their household at any point in their lifetime, 71% believe all of their household vehicles will be full-electric vehicles within 15 years. Further, 62% of new car buyers would be interested in purchasing a full-electric vehicle at an additional cost over the same vehicle with a gasoline engine.

While back In Malaysia, there are import and excise duty exemptions for EVs. The exemptions will last until Dec 31, 2025 for locally assembled models, but only until the end of 2023 for completely built-up (CBU) vehicles. In the recently tabled Budget 2023, there is a proposal to extend the exemptions for CBUs by another year. While around South-East Asia some countries have more robust EV policies. Thailand has a policy to move 30% of total automotive production to EVs by 2030, while the Indonesian government has set a goal for EVs to make up 20% of all domestic cars manufactured by 2025. Singapore is even more aggressive, targeting to cease new diesel car registrations from 2025 and requiring all new car and taxi registrations to be of cleaner-energy models from 2030.

So what does it mean for EVs in the Malaysian market?

Experts familiar with EVs are offering varying views as to how the industry can become mainstream. Industry players say that a specific roadmap from the government is essential. With EVs still not mainstream in the country today, Malaysia would most likely not see a rise in the market. No surprisingly as EVs cost more and another problem is the lack of infrastructure, namely, sufficient charging stations.

With Malaysia, still at its infancy, steps have already been taken as multiple charge-point operators have commenced the installation of both AC and DC chargers in condominiums and commercial buildings, as well as in public areas along highways. This is a good sign of the confidence that players in the industry are willing to invest in infrastructure despite the low number of EVs at present in the country today!

Blog by NG