Chinese automaker moves to meet Malaysian EV demand

(Xinhua) 09:27, February 23, 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Great Wall Motor (GWM), China's leading sport utility vehicle (SUV) and pickup manufacturer, is making inroads into Malaysia's electric vehicle (EV) market with the introduction of its range of vehicles.

The Malaysian government looks to create suitable conditions for the EV sector including various tax incentives and construction of supporting infrastructure, especially charging stations.

These policy shifts have created a demand for such vehicles in the country with a range of companies introducing their products into the Malaysian market.

Among these is GWM, a versatile manufacturer with an expansive portfolio including hybrids and other vehicle classes, GWM Malaysia's brand and product communication head Daniel Lai told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Lai said that the first model that GWM introduced in the Malaysian market is the electric vehicle, Ora Good Cat as "EV is a current, happening right now."

Later on, GWM's the Haval, which is a hybrid, pickup trucks and all those in its product line will be introduced to the Southeast Asian country, according to Lai.

"So that's a strategic plan that we are going to introduce nine models in three years." he explained.

International Trade and Industry Ministry deputy secretary general Norazman Ayob said the Malaysian government hoped to have at least 10,000 charging stations available to the public by 2025, adding that EVs from China are of particular interest.

"We have now encouraged the import of more EVs particularly from China because we want to have more EVs that are affordable for the people," he said in a speech to the Electrical and Electronics Association of Malaysia last week.

Separately, International Trade and Industry deputy minister Liew Chin Tong told parliament on Monday that the Finance Ministry is currently fine-tuning several matters in regards to increasing the number of EVs in government vehicle fleets.

"Land public transport vehicles are also encouraged to make the switch to EV," Liew said, adding that there are 21,659 existing EV and hybrid vehicles on the road, as well as 902 EV charging points.

The government is expected to roll out more incentives to expedite the adoption of EVs in the revised Budget 2023 that will be tabled on Feb. 24, said RHB Research in its January report, adding that the budget will provide incentives to attract manufacturers to assemble their EVs locally, which in turn could incentivize them to sell domestically.

Meanwhile, Lee Khye Sun, a general manager at a distributorship that carries the Good Cat model, said that consumers are gradually changing their attitude towards EV's with many inquiring about their capabilities including its operating range, battery life, and price.

"We explain to customers these details, but it's still in the beginning stages of EVs. You can see that there are quite a lot out there right now but they are very expensive," he said.

"Whereas for GWM, for the price of this class, (it's) reasonable for an EV. So there's a lot of explaining to do because the price is higher than ICE (internal combustion engine) cars. But generally, it's acceptable for most EV users," he said.

Lee added that while there is support from the government, the infrastructure will take time to be built and fossil fuels are still relatively cheap in Malaysia, meaning that the take-up might be slower than desired but the end result would be inevitable.

"EV is the flow of the world. You can not go against the flow," he said. 

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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