According to a report by The Star, Malaysia is en route to produce its first prototype lithium-ion batteries for electric buses, cars and energy storage by the first quarter of 2015.

The project, which will be a collaborative effort between the Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI), transport logistics firm ARCA Corp, Australia’s AutoCRC and Swinburne University of Technology, aims to develop the most energy-dense battery for the market, according to MAI chief executive officer Madani Sahari.

Madani said the first experimental batch of batteries will be employed on an electric bus prototype, developed by ARCA Corp. The first planned deployment of the E-Bus will be in Putrajaya and Langkawi, due to their relatively simple routing and range requirements. A sum of RM200 million is said to be invested by ARCA Corp over a period of four years, with commercialisation of the E-Bus expected to commence in 2016.

Following trial runs, the next step would be to “upscale” the production of the lithium-ion batteries, according to Madani. “Once we have successfully tested the prototype battery, we want to then produce them locally on a wider scale.”

He also said plans were already in motion to set up a plant to produce the batteries. The only decision left to make is between establishing a new plant or expand on an existing one. Said plant is part of the National Automotive Policy, announced in January 2014, which aims to turn Malaysia into a regional energy-efficient vehicle hub.