Malaysia appears to be falling behind regional counterparts in EV race


Malaysia appears to be falling behind its regional counterparts in the EV race, when compared to Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore. — AFP photo

KUCHING: Malaysia appears to be falling behind its regional counterparts in the electric vehicle (EV) race, when compared to Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore.

According to the research arm of Maybank Investment Bank Bhd (Maybank IB Research), the majority of Asean countries are progressively formulating their EV roadmap to attract mega projects or investments or infrastructure.

“Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore are at the forefront, charging ahead with various incentives or taxes,” Maybank IB Research said.

“Conversely, Malaysia and the Philippines appear to be trailing its regional peers in adopting the EV potential. Much of their focus is still internal combustion engine (ICE)-driven.”

Maybank IB Research gathered that the Thai Government is aggressively pursuing this segment.

The research arm also gathered that it aims to make the country the EV hub for Asean by 2025 and has set a target to produce 250,000 EVs, 3,000 electric public buses and 53,000 electric motorcycles by then.

“The goal is to increase EV’s market share of domestic production (2.5 million units) to 30 per cent (or 750,000 units) in 2030 and 1.2 million units by 2036.”

The research arm noted that the government has rolled out multiple incentives.

Business segments undertaking five billion Thai bahts (US$165 million) or larger EV projects will be tax exempt from corporate taxes for eight years and tax holidays in the EV supply chain, in particular for manufacturers of battery modules and battery cells, are just some of the incentives to promote this.

As for Indonesia, Maybank IB Research highlighted that the country targets a minimum 20 per cent of its vehicles to be electric by 2025.

“To-date, it has attracted multiple EV-related investment programs such as Toyota (US$2 billion), Hyundai (US$1.55 billion), China’s Contemporary Amperex Tech (CATL; US$5 billion for a lithium battery plant) and is continuously pursuing new investment Tesla and LG Chem (US$9.8 billion for EV battery factory).

“Indonesia is the largest nickel producer in the world. Nickel is a key component for battery manufacturing.”

Meanwhile, Singapore aims to phase out ICE vehicles by 2040, the research arm noted.

It further noted that the country will spend S$30 million over the next five years for its EV-related initiatives.

“To encourage EV adoption, it will narrow the cost differential between EV and ICE cars by zerorising the Additional Registration Fee (ARF) tax for EVs from January 2022 to December 2023, revise road tax structure to bring the cost of ownership of EVs closer to ICE vehicles and targets 60,000 charging points (versus 28,000 units previously, current: 1,600 units) by 2030.

“Hyundai will also invest S$400 million to set up a research and development (R&D) centre for small scale EV production facility (capacity: 30,000 units per annum by 2025).”

In contrast, Malaysia’s National Automotive Policy was ambiguous on its EV roadmap (investment, incentives) and appears to be falling behind its regional counterparts.

“Investment-wise, while Porsche AG is in an advanced talk to set up an assembly plant (to CKD Macan and Cayenne models) for its Asean market, identifying Inokom as its partner, Hyundai has closed down its Asia Pacific HQ in KL and relocated to Indonesia.

“Meanwhile, the Philippine’s EV roadmap lacks clarity and direction as well.”