Malaysia Toyota Tesla

A Tesla Model S charges at a Tesla Supercharger station in Pickering, Canada. (IMG/JL IMAGES/Shutterstock)

Malaysia gets an EV boost from Toyota and Tesla

  • The tax exemption proposal has stimulated some encouraging movement within the automotive sector.
  • Malaysia has begun taking more-than-usual orders for Tesla.
  • Toyota aims to introduce more hybrid EVs and strengthen its position in the domestic market.

Just last month the Malaysian government announced a 100% elimination of all taxes on electric vehicles (EVs) in the country, including import and excise duties, as well as road tax.

It was meant to boost the sector that Malaysia has long lagged behind. Following the announcement, reports have surfaced that Toyota and Tesla are expected to uplift the EV offerings locally.

For starters, the Malay Vehicle Importers and Traders Association of Malaysia (PEKEMA) has announced earlier this month that it has begun taking more-than-usual orders for Teslas in Malaysia. For context, Tesla doesn’t officially sell its vehicles in Malaysia. 

Meanwhile, UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd, Toyota’s local distributor, aims to introduce hybrid EVs and strengthen its position in the domestic market. A report by a local news outlet said the Japanese marque is finalizing the launch of the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid, its first locally-assembled hybrid EV.

Tesla in Malaysia

The association is aiming to sell 500 Tesla EVs each year during the tax exemption period of two years. PEKEMA revealed a detailed listing of Tesla models that can be purchased through its network, as well as their indicative pricing, with tax exemptions in place. Potential buyers can pick from the entire range, with prices anticipated to start from RM288,888 for a Model 3 — a new unit brought in from Hong Kong.

The price is a huge difference compared to when it used to cost RM523,000 in 2019. The Hong Kong model however will have restrictions on some apps including no on-board games or internet browsers. Those features are available at a higher price tag as PEKEMA would import them from the UK.

Should the purchase of a Tesla vehicle be made via PEKEMA, additional services and benefits are provided. That includes eight years of battery/electric motor warranty and four years for other hardware. According to reports, the association claims to have technicians who were trained in Tesla Singapore for repairs.

Additionally, PEKEMA is also said to be working on bringing Tesla vehicles from Australia and New Zealand as well, but that also means different prices and availability. PEKEMA VP Raja Petra Marudin told Soya Cincau that they hope “the government will consider our application to bring in Tesla units through Tesla Singapore, which will further facilitate logistics for customers”.

Given how EV infrastructure is an issue in Malaysia too, PEKEMA and Malaysia Automotive Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) announced plans to collaborate on setting up a network of 1,000 DC rapid charging stations around Malaysia by 2025.

Currently, there are about 500 public AC charging stations in Malaysia and only nine public DC fast-charging stations for EVs, with another 10 in development.

For context, Thailand, which has more than double Malaysia’s population, has 1,406 public AC charging stations, and 771 public DC fast-charging stations.

Singapore, a much smaller island, has 61 DC fast-charging stations. That said, Pekema and MARii will have to build 981 DC Fast Charging Stations within the next three years. 

Both PEKEMA and MARii also plan to co-develop connected aspects such as e-payments, charger locators, battery management systems as well as service center networks for the charging ecosystem.

It appears the tax exemption proposal has stimulated some encouraging movement within the automotive sector, with even companies like Mercedes-Benz announcing that a range of electric vehicles will arrive starting next year.

Even national carmakers such as Proton have confirmed that hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and full EVs are in the works, while Perodua is currently conducting a market study on hybrid cars.