Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak yesterday launched the Proton Green Mobility Challenge 2012 (PGMC), a challenge jointly organised by Proton and Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM) that will see local uni students develop an electric vehicle from a standard internal combustion engine powered Proton Saga.

The participating universities are UTP, UNITEN, UTeM, UNIKL MSI, UMP, UNISEL, IIUM, UTM, UNIMAP and UKM. Each team will modify the Saga according and compete in the finals, which will be held from 4-7 October this year. Each car’s performance will be put to the test and four factors will be taken into account – distance achieved, quarter mile acceleration, fastest time for two laps, and top speed.

The organisers say that PGMC 2012 is in line with AIM’s objectives of facilitating wealth creation via innovation. The statutory body serves to formulate and implement the strategies towards enhancing the national innovation eco-system and creating new-wave wealth from innovation in the country.

“Sustainable mobility is dependent on three equally critical components coming together; firstly the ability of car manufacturers to commercially make available a new generation of vehicles in the most cost-efficient manner.

“Secondly, the willingness and support of Governments and policy makers in formulating long-term legislations which would not only enable car manufacturers to map out future investment plans but pave the way for what is thirdly, greater consumer awareness for green technology and their acceptance of alternative fuel propulsion systems such as hybrids and electric vehicles,” said Proton Group MD Datuk Seri Syed Zainal Abidin.

Like the Perodua Eco Challenge, this challenge allows undergrads to practice what they learn – nothing like competition to bring the best out of us, right? Anyway, while there could possibly be a trick or two that can be learned from PGMC entries, Proton already has competition winning EV technology under development.

Read our live report on the RAC Future Car Challenge Brighton to London here, where Proton won two awards competing against the world’s best EVs. Also click here for our exclusive drive report of the actual Saga EV.