Plenty of MOU signing over the years and still no REAL expansion of public electric vehicle charging.
For the last few years, since the first plug-in hybrid appeared in Malaysia, there was been a lot of press events, signing ceremonies and promises of battery electric vehicle (EV) charging in Malaysia. As the rest of the developed world moves fast into EV adoption, Malaysia still were more interested in the HUGE tax incentives on plug-in hybrids (PHEV) and so the ‘sellers’ of PHEV’s installed charges in high end shopping malls and hotels around the country. Well, on the rich could afford these low taxed PHEV luxury vehicles. There was no need to install chargers in 3 Star hotels and middle class shopping malls.
Also, the huge profits made by car manufacturers selling PHEV’s in Malaysia allowed them to ‘spend’ a little more on chargers to get media coverage showing their ‘commitment’ to a greener Malaysia.
Now, comes the full EV charge. Global initiatives and the desire to have EV’s only in their showrooms in coming years have promoted them to invest in rapid charging DC Chargers. But again, we are seeing press releases, signing ceremonies and ‘promises only’.
At the recent BMW iX EV launch, BMW Group Malaysia made a promise on rapidly expanding the BMW i dealer network to key cities across the country. DC Fast Chargers will also be installed at all BMW i dealers for public use to further accelerate the availability of charging infrastructures in Malaysia, along with Rapid-charging DC Chargers to be made available for quick on-the-go charging at selected dealerships nationwide.
Volvo Cars will start selling their full electric vehicles very soon, starting with the X40 Recharge EV early 2022. They launched the XC40 PHEV in February this year to get the program going and after the XC40 EV is launched, we will see other new Volvo’s like the C40 and XC60 and XC90 EV coming into Malaysia. Like BMW Malaysia, they will also need to look into a fast charging network. Will they make the investment?
Porsche in Malaysia has seen sales success with its Taycan EV and this has prompted them to work with Shell to set up an EV charging network. With 12 charging points planned at six Shell stations located along the North-South Highway in Malaysia, the move will enable EV drivers to travel between Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Penang without range anxiety (assuming there is no other vehicle hogging the space)
According to Porsche, each Shell station will be equipped with a 180 kW direct-current (DC) charger with two CCS Type 2 charging connectors. This allows a single vehicle to be charged at up to 180 kW, or two vehicles simultaneously at up to 90 kW each.
The charging network will be introduced in stages, starting with four stations (Seremban R&R Northbound, Seremban R&R Southbound, Jalan Ayer Hitam and Tangkak Layby) in the second half of this year and the rest (Simpang Pulai R&R and Tapah R&R) by the first half of 2022.
We have witnessed a few organizations over the years promising electric vehicle charging stations for public use in grand scale and numbers. Even until recently, MAAri and Pekema (AP Holders for recon cars) held a press conference during the last lockdown and promised 1,000 public charging stations nationwide.
Meanwhile, over the years we have been to press conferences where Greentech Malaysia and European PHEV car brands have talked about charging stations and EV adoption since 2015 with just a very small handful of results to show.
In 2015 there was an ambitious plan to have 25,000 ChargeEV stations nationwide by 2020, this was before Covid-19 and today, we are do not see even 5 percent of that target up and running around the country.
At the time ChargeEV was working with BMW i to get the network running and if you visit the website you will see the ‘I’ logo still showing. Then in late August 2021 BMW Malaysia launched their electric vehicle SUV ahead of Mercedes’s planned EV launch with a target to have their own DC Fast Chargers installed at all BMW i dealers for public use to further accelerate the availability of charging infrastructures in Malaysia, along with Rapid-charging DC Chargers to be made available for quick on-the-go charging at selected dealerships nationwide.
As you can see from the paragraphs above, there are no mid-segment PHEV’s or even electric vehicles on sale for the middle class car buyer. Geely and Proton should be introducing their electrified vehicles in Malaysia but why are they not doing so?
We wait for another MOU signing ceremony and see.