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EVs to grace Proton soon

Proton has unveiled exciting plans for its future lineup, including introducing Proton-branded electric vehicles (EVs). This follows a call from the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI) for local carmakers like Proton and Perodua to offer affordable EVs by 2025.


Dr Li Chunrong, CEO of Proton, revealed that the company will soon launch its EVs. Even more intriguing is the announcement of two EV models, with the second one set to debut 6 to 8 months later. While specific details remain undisclosed, this move underscores Proton's commitment to embracing New Energy Vehicle (NEV) technology.


During the launch of the Proton X90, Eric Li Shufu, Founder and Chairman of Geely, expressed Geely's aim to support Proton in its NEV transformation. The goal is to introduce at least one NEV model annually. NEV encompasses various electrified vehicles, including hybrid, fuel-cell, and battery-electric vehicles.


The pressing question now revolves around which EV models Proton will introduce in the upcoming year. Given its partnership with Geely, it's probable that Proton's EVs will be based on existing models within the Chinese automotive group. Potential options may include the Geometry brand, known for its electric SUVs like the Geometry C and Geometry E.


The chosen model for local production must be affordable and practical for Malaysian drivers. While there are compact and budget-friendly EVs from China suitable for city driving, their lower top speeds may not align with the needs of Malaysian commuters who frequent highways.


Under MITI's current policy, imported EVs into Malaysia must not be priced below RM100,000. This policy aims to safeguard the local automotive industry and promote the local production of EVs priced under RM100,000, thus making them accessible to the mass market.


However, alongside affordable EVs, the availability of sufficient EV charging infrastructure is crucial to support the growing number of EVs on Malaysian roads. Malaysia aims to deploy 10,000 EV charging points by 2025, but progress has been slow, with only around 1,500 charge points installed.


Although Charge Point Operators have expedited charger deployment along highways and at key destinations, bureaucratic obstacles have hindered the availability of new chargers. Despite efforts to streamline the approval process, delays persist due to incomplete applications. As of mid-December 2023, only 223 EVCS licences have been granted.

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