Proton today handed eight electric vehicles to the government for running trials with various ministries, as the national automaker works its way towards mass-production of these in 2013. The vehicles are three Saga EV and five Exora REEV (Range Extender Electric Vehicle) models.

The vehicles were presented by Proton chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in Putrajaya. Present at the handover ceremony was former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed, who is Proton’s adviser.

The initiative is also part of the Fleet Test Vehicle Programme, which is a joint effort by Proton, the Ministry of International trade and Industry (MITI) and the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water (KeTTHA), which aims to assess the potential of green technology as well as the infrastructure of hybrid and electric vehicles in Malaysia.

The five Exora REEVs are set to be used by the Prime Minister’s office, MITI, KeTTHA, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and well as the Ministry of Finance (MOF), while the three Saga EVs will see service with MITI, KeTTHA and the MOT.

Proton will provide charging stations for the EVs at the Prime Minister’s Office and also on the premises of the other four ministries involved in the programme, as well as home chargers for the households of the designated drivers of the vehicles.