Proton previewed an all-electric version of the Proton Saga sedan in University Putra Malaysia, Serdang during the “Proton Exora – The Making” seminar organized by SAE International earlier this week. The “Proton” name would definitely make sense on this particular car! ;)

You might expect this plug-in electric vehicle to have been co-developed with Detroit Electric which have a deal to produce electric cars based on the Proton GEN2 and the Proton Persona for certain overseas markets under the Detroit Electric brand. But on the contrary, what you see above is an in-house project done with the help of unnamed suppliers and partners.

This means that unlike the Detroit Electric e46 (based on the Proton Gen 2) and the Detroit Electric e63 (based on the Proton Persona), the electric Saga (officially called the Proton Saga EV Green Propulsion Concept for now) is probably being considered for the local market, although the auto maker is very tight-lipped about possible launch dates. It could take years.

The emissions-free Proton Saga EV on display features a 125kW (168hp) brushless DC electric motor, mated to a 5 speed manual transmission. It has a 20kWh Lithium Ion Polymer battery pack (12 separate batteries stored in the trunk). Because of the batteries, truckspace is pretty much non-existent but this is quite normal with concept electric cars based on a chassis that was originally designed to take a regular combustion engine and fuel tank. A production car would ideally have neater integration of the batteries.

According to Proton, the Saga EV can sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 10.1 seconds, up to a top speed of 161 km/h, with a driving range of 109 kilometers over a full charge. Both the Detroit Electric e46 and e63 will feature a 150kW Axial Magnetic Flux motor instead.

There is more! The “green-mobil” also features re-generative braking and an electric power steering, apart from a built-in Batter Management System (BCMU), a plug-in charger (with a household power outlet), air conditioning as well as an In-Vehicle display screen that displays various information pertaining to the electric vehicle functions. Sources also revealed that Proton has plans to built an electric Exora MPV, and, is currently working on some hybrid vehicles as well, for research and development.

Since Proton took the trouble to produce a fully functioning Saga EV Concept, I am sure it is a matter of time till we actually see Proton-built electric cars on the road, but it doesn’t end at just producing such emissions-free vehicles. There has to an infrastructure ready to accommodate charging in the outdoors, which is something that will involve the government, apart from the private sector.