Proton plans to produce EVs by 2027
09 Nov 2022
National automaker Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Bhd (Proton) is in the midst of strengthening its electric vehicle (EV) capabilities, and plans to launch and produce its own EV by 2027, said deputy chief executive officer Roslan Abdullah.
Roslan said Proton had been discussing with potential partners to embark on the venture, as it could not just jump into producing EVs without understanding how to sell and market the vehicles.
He said Proton’s EV road map started 10 years ago, but it was not pursued due to low market demand and technologies.
“The next five years (until 2027) will give us ample time to determine which technology is most acceptable, easy to maintain, and affordable for consumers and us,” he told reporters after a panel discussion at the Invest Malaysia Series 2 event titled “The Road to EV” here on Wednesday (Nov 9).
Before having its own EV, Roslan said Proton would gain more experience by collaborating with Smart Automobile Co Ltd as the latter’s distributor in Malaysia and Thailand.
“The collaboration with Smart Automobile and distribution of smart cars will teach us how to assemble EVs locally, and give us experience and knowledge of the assembly process,” he said.
Smart Automobile is a joint venture established by Mercedes-Benz AG and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd.
When asked about the challenges new energy vehicles (NEVs) face in penetrating the Malaysian market, Roslan said the solutions would require stronger support from the Government, better industry readiness, and a shift in customer preference towards EVs.
He said sales of NEVs had increased to 3.4% or 13,800 units year-to-date, with hybrid EVs being more popular than battery-powered EVs.
“There are major challenges to overcome, requiring time and collective effort.
“These challenges include Malaysia not having many affordable EVs, slow consumer adoption, lack of clarity of EV charging infrastructure development, talent development in the EV segment, and lack of investment in related technologies,” he said.
Roslan said further development and support for the EV industry is necessary for it to move forward.
“This includes research and development programmes, investment in the supply chain, technology, and providing better EV infrastructure,” he added.