Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI) CEO Madani Sahari has said that Malaysia will produce not one, but two electric vehicles by 2017 – with one of them likely to come from Proton – according to the News Straits Times and Berita Harian.

The dailies reported Madani as saying that the national carmaker is in the process of developing its own EV, and will have a prototype ready by the end of next year.

“Proton is expected to introduce its first EV by end of 2016 or in early 2017, as it usually takes about a year to test the prototype before the car enters the production phase,” he told reporters at the 2014 Automechanika Kuala Lumpur yesterday.


Another yet-to-be-named company is said to also be aiming to produce a prototype EV next year – this time in September or October – before putting it into production in 2017. This echoes Madani’s own statements at the public launch of the COMOS EV car-sharing programme last month.

Madani also said that these EVs should come in with a price tag of under RM100k, thanks to the entire project – including the building of EV infrastructure and the production of lithium-ion batteries – being based in Malaysia. This compares very favourably to the last EVs that were on sale here – the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Nissan Leaf, which even after tax exemptions came in at RM139,888 and RM168,800 respectively.

The institute will step in as the coordinator of the EV project, and has also set aside RM10 million for local companies to conduct research and development for their EVs. As the battery constitutes some 30% of the overall price of an EV, MAI will also work with the manufacturers to introduce a battery leasing concept – not unlike the scheme implemented by Renault – that could be another factor in the cars’ low expected pricing.

Madani said that in addition to improving the global competitiveness of the local carmakers, the project will also encourage foreign companies to introduce more EVs to our market, increasing the choice of energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly vehicles for the consumer.

Proton is of course no stranger to EV development, having worked with Frazer-Nash Research on EVs and range-extended electric vehicles (REEV) for use in the RAC Future Car Challenge in 2010 and 2011 (we’ve even driven them, and you can read our impressions of the Proton Saga EV and the Proton Exora REEV). No word from the collaboration has been heard since, however.

More recently, Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed posted images of a Proton Iriz EV prototype from LG’s Incheon R&D facility on his Facebook page, suggesting that the new car was produced together with LG Electronics. The minister remarked that the car could travel 240 km on a single charge – by comparison, the Nissan Leaf features an NEDC-rated range of 195 km.