Proton will be selling electric vehicles by 2014, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed told Parliament yesterday. The national car company is currently collaborating with UK-based Frazer-Nash Research to develop its own EV.
In a reply to Gombak MP Azmin Ali, the MITI minister said that Proton had allocated RM500 million for research and development in green technology and is expected to gain profits after commercialising EVs in 2014, The Star reported.
The PKR man asked MITI to state the rationale of investment by Proton through Frazer-Nash, to which Mustapa replied that Proton’s R&D spend is much smaller than other car manufacturers.
It was pointed out that GM invested about US$1.2 billion to develop its Chevrolet Volt while Nissan-Renault has allocated US$5.6 billion for the same purpose. Allegations that Proton spent some RM270 million to test 30 cars and each cost about RM9 million were untrue, Mustapa said.
Meanwhile, Bernama reports that the government is ready to allocate RM120 million next year to Proton for the development of an EV before it can be commercialised mid-2014.
“The government allocated RM100 million this year for Proton to develop a hybrid and electric model and will consider an allocation of RM120 million next year for research and development. All this depends on Budget 2013 which will be tabled by the Prime Minister tomorrow (today) and on Proton meeting its key performance index target,” Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said.
Who is Frazer-Nash? Is their tech any good? Well, Proton/Frazer-Nash won two awards – the Most Efficient Multi-Purpose Car (Prototype) and the Best Overall Extended-Range Vehicle (E-REV) – at last year’s RAC Future Car Challenge from Brighton to London. The 64-car field included the best electric powered and alternative fuel vehicles around, from the Chevy Volt to the Nissan Leaf, so it’s no small feat. Click here to read our race report.