Proton: Consider incentive for electric vehicles

Its Green Tech Department, Board Project director Datuk Zainuddin Che Din said the cost of the vehicle ownership was among the challenges in the implementation of the EVs or hybrid vehicles initiatives.

He said the Green Project Team is working with the United Kingdom-based Frazer-Nash Research Ltd to develop the Proton Saga EV and Proton Exora Extended Range EV (REEV) expected to roll out in the first half of 2013.

Citing examples, he said, the United States government provides US$7,500 tax credit, the Chinese government provides subsidies of up to US$8,800 for purchase of alternative fuel vehicles and UK Plug-in Car Grant offers 25 per cent discount up to a maximum 5,000 pounds for a new car.

Zainuddin said there was lack of awareness of the benefits and advantages in Malaysia for EV vehicles and relatively the cost would be higher than normal vehicles.

"The EV or better known as the hybrid industry is still new among Malaysians and the price will be higher due to high technology acquisition costs and high installation costs of charging stations," he told BERNAMA after briefing the Malaysian media on the progress of electrification plans for proton cars.

At the media briefing, Zainuddin said while the EVs would be cheaper to operate but purchasing would be costly, (therefore) it was important to promote the industry’s growth.

He said incentives or rebates would be one way to attract Malaysians to buy

EVs which would snowball to create awareness going forward.

The Exora REEV has an on-board generator to recharge the battery-driven engine and the Proton Saga EV is purely battery-powered.

On demand, Zainuddin said if the government withdrew fuel subsidies, the petrol consumption would be less as compared to previous petrol quantity at the same price.

"So, demand for EVs would likely increase as people will perhaps look into moving to EVs and incentives will encourage them further," he added.