Proton to introduce electric and hybrid vehicles this year
03 Apr 2023
National carmaker Proton expects to launch a new electric vehicle in the country by the fourth quarter (4Q2023) under its “new energy vehicle” (NEV) segment.
Proton’s wholly owned subsidiary Proton New Energy Technology (Pro-Net) is expected to introduce “smart #1”, which is a sport utility vehicle (SUV) segment EV developed by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group with Mercedes-Benz.
Geely owns a 49.9% stake in Proton, while DRB-Hicom owns the remaining 50.1%.
“Proton and Geely have made great strides in bringing new products, technology, and investment to Malaysia. Following the signing of the heads of agreement (HOA) in Beijing on April 1 (Saturday), it is now clear the Automotive High Tech Valley (AHTV) in Tanjung Malim has great potential to attract RM32 billion of investment.
“Today’s (Saturday) visit to [the Zeekr Intelligent Factory in] Ningbo demonstrates that the Proton and Geely partnership will continue to prosper with the future implementation of NEV programmes,” said Proton chairman Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar.
The Zeekr Intelligent Factory maximises the application of Fourth Industrial Revolution and 5G connectivity, and epitomises the highest level of manufacturing efficiency.
While traditional internal combustion engine powered cars remain the mainstay of Proton’s model range, the company has also established its NEV strategy for the near future.
For starters, Proton said it will introduce Proton X90, the latest addition to the brand’s range of SUVs powered by a mild-hybrid version of its 1.5 turbocharged gasoline direct injection engine in the Malaysian market soon.
This will be followed by the Malaysian market introduction of the smart #1 by Pro-Net in 4Q2023, it added.
“We will also expand our focus to include other aspects that support the industry. For example, charging infrastructure development is a priority for NEVs, so we will optimise synergy with the Geely group of companies to enhance the NEV infrastructure for Proton and the ecosystem in Malaysia,” said Dr Li Chunrong, the chief executive officer of Proton.
During the visit, DRB-Hicom and Geely signed the HOA document to jointly invest, manage, and develop the AHTV in Tanjung Malim into a smart city and hub for next-generation vehicles.
Over the next 10 years, the AHTV is expected to attract investments worth an estimated RM32 billion.
Source: The Edge Markets