SOCAR Community Shares Their Voice on Malaysian EV Mobility Drive

KUALA LUMPUR, 21 July 2021 – A recent survey has affirmed a clear opening for SOCAR to empower Malaysians to access electric vehicles (EVs) through flexible mobility options. Amid a global push for drivers to switch from traditional cars powered by internal combustion engines (ICE) to EVs, the relatively high cost of EV adoption remains a substantial barrier in Malaysia. EVs cost 30-40% more than a similar ICE car, but Malaysian car buyers are reluctant to pay more, with most wanting prices similar to a conventional car (23.88%), while some are only willing to pay 10% (17.21%) or 30% (16.06%) more at most.

In the survey conducted by SOCAR Mobility Asia amongst 236 respondents, almost 9 in 10 (89.9%) expressed interest in driving an EV through SOCAR, a promising indicator as only a fifth of them (19.9%) had previously driven a battery electric vehicle (BEV), although almost half (49.6%) had tried driving a hybrid vehicle, suggesting a widespread lack of of hands-on experience using pure EVs among the population. 

The respondents also reiterated the well-known barriers to adoption, citing the higher price (85.2%) and limited availability of charging stations (72.5%) as reasons for not driving or owning an EV. Nevertheless, their positive interest in EV use based on environmental impact (74.6%) and fuel economy (74.2%) augurs well for EV adoption if the barriers of cost and infrastructure can be addressed.

“From the survey, we clearly see that there is interest in EV use and positive sentiments on the benefits. However, the barriers of cost – which includes the purchase price and maintenance, as well as insufficient EV infrastructure otherwise known as range anxiety, are issues that must be effectively and strategically addressed in order to make headway in encouraging EV use. At SOCAR, we welcome efforts by the Government to encourage greener mobility including the commitment to expand sustainability-related financing in Budget 2022. We also look forward to the Sustainable Financing Roadmap and hearing more about the tax incentive framework for EV importation in the Low Carbon Mobility Blueprint 2021-2030. This will enable mobility providers to more easily add EVs into our fleet,” said Leon Foong, Group CEO of SOCAR Mobility Asia.

With private-public partnerships being key in creating a comprehensive system to accelerate the switch to EVs, Foong said SOCAR is taking the opportunity to work closely with industry partners to expand the holistic EV ecosystem, from infrastructure to support services and even battery recycling facilities in the future. He proposed a collaboration to create an Electric Vehicle digital one-stop shop for Malaysian drivers, to enhance the EV ownership and driving experience by providing relevant information at the fingertips – from guidance on calculating savings from EV use and claiming tax benefits to help in finding suitable charging points and workshops. 

Optimising data for strategic rollout

Foong said SOCAR’s data pool is a key resource for improving the EV driving experience, providing insights that enable collaboration with charging infrastructure players and other mobility providers to efficiently plan out the locations for EV deployment. This in turn complements Malaysia’s target to install 7,000 AC charging points and 500 DC charging points nationwide through government funding, coupled with incentives to the private sector to build infrastructure for the national fast charging network under the Green Income Tax Exemption (GITE) in order to reach 125,000 charging points by 20304.

“For example, our data can help TNB ensure sufficient availability of appropriate charging points and efficient load balancing across strategic locations, while mobility providers can optimise data to ensure charging stations are built in the right locations to cater to both city-based and long-distance driving. SOCAR’s ability to offer EVs across our coverage zones in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor, Ipoh and Melaka also gives more people the chance to test EVs in an everyday mobility setting and experience the benefits of driving EVs and the ease of charging through our partner networks,” he added. In the survey, respondents expressed interest in using EVs for city driving (73.3%), daily commuting (58.5%) and weekend driving (58.1%).

With maintenance support also being crucial for EV adoption, SOCAR aims to partner with pre-vetted and qualified maintenance and service centres that can meet the needs of a highly-utilised fleet. Based on the survey, these service centres will likely be starting off by collaborating with major US and European automotive brands, as the respondents were most interested to see SOCAR offering the Tesla Model 3 (72%), BMW i3 Electric (58.9%), Tesla Model Y (57.2%) and Volvo XC40 Recharge (56.8%).

Flex mobility driving EV adoption

Many Malaysians are still trying to stretch their budget today, further underlining the role of flexible mobility in meeting public needs. With as many as 61.8% of respondents only willing to commit up to RM999 towards owning an EV, it is important to support their desire to access EVs via monthly subscription (53.8%), or hourly (49.2%) and daily (47.9%) rental

For those looking to own EVs, flexible mobility also provides options to offset the cost of ownership and maintenance, as they can share their car and charging station access with other drivers on TREVO to earn extra cash. EV use is very much a part of the future of mobility and it is fitting that a future-centric concept like multi-flex mobility is proving to be a key factor in expanding EV access and adoption. 

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