Solarvest eyeing a piece of EV infrastructure pie with PowerBee launch
07 Dec 2022
Clean energy specialist Solarvest Holdings Bhd is venturing into the electric vehicle (EV) charging port market, with the launch of EV charging and mobility solutions called PowerBee.
“Leveraging on our existing renewable assets and expertise in solar, we are confident in Solarvest’s development of green charging infrastructure (PowerBee) to provide reliable, accessible, and affordable clean energy solutions,” Solarvest chief strategy officer Leon Liew Chee Ing said in a virtual press conference on Wednesday (Dec 7).
Liew listed three target market segments and product positioning for PowerBee: the residential segment with seven to 22 kilo-watt (kW) alternate current charger, commercial and industrial (C&I) with slow charging of 11 to 22kW or fast charging of 30 to 60kW, and highways with 60-180kW.
“[The main target segments] will be the high-rise buildings (residential), and our existing customer portfolio in C&I,” he added, noting that these segments are the “low-hanging fruit” that most of the big players will not venture into.
Liew highlighted that Solarvest does not plan to compete with bigger EV infrastructure players like Petroliam Nasional Bhd and Tenaga Nasional Bhd, but will instead aim to utilise the company’s engineering expertise to work with and complement them.
“Most of the players [in the EV charging infrastructure market] will be able to complement and work together with each other to fast-track the adoption of EVs in the market. That is our main goal,” he added.
Liew said that PowerBee will be starting small in phases of deployment and subsequently proceeding with scaling up, depending on the uptake of users, noting that Solarvest is maintaining focus on a profitable return.
“We will start with a minimum of one to two chargers per high-rise building and eventually phase up to five, 10, or 20 once we have the [required] number of [EV] users coming in.
“It will be based on case to case, the scale will not be too much, but [the capital expenditure] we are looking at is a few million, but we are looking for a profitable return before we deploy more infrastructure,” he said.
Meanwhile, Liew said that he foresees EV adoption to be ramped up when automakers such as Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd or Proton Holdings Bhd introduce affordable options to the market, which he believes may occur in the next two to three years.
“Also, it depends on the policy of Malaysia, as our gasoline price is still one of the cheapest in the region, a lot cheaper than in Indonesia and neighbouring countries. So it depends on the policymakers, and how [they] balance between the subsidy on the internal combustion engine and the future subsidy of the EV to have the same level playing field,” he added.
Liew noted that as of now, there may be only around 2,000 EVs on Malaysian roads, but he added that two or three years down the road, that number may go up to the tens or hundreds of thousands.
“But we do not want to be late to the game, we want to go in with a phased approach. We are not going to put in large capital to deploy, we have to wait for the long term before we can see any profit coming in.
“So we will do a phased approach to go at a smaller scale and when we see the adoption picking up, we will increase from there,” he said.
Liew said that once PowerBee’s offering in Malaysia is firmed up, Solarvest plans to expand the company’s EV charging and mobility solutions overseas to Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.
As of 11.56am on Wednesday (Dec 7), shares of Solarvest stood unchanged at 80.5 sen, giving the company a market capitalisation of RM537.38 million.
Source: The Edge Markets