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The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV continues to be driven around Malaysia on trade plates, though there hasn’t been much news on whether the car will be introduced here or not. Reader Dr Mohamed Ahsan saw this unit driving out of JPJ Putrajaya a few days ago, and for those who work at Peremba Square in Saujana, you’d have probably seen it in the parking lot.

In Malaysia, there had been plans to bring the model in by the end of 2013, but various production delays – which has affected the model’s US debut as well – put paid to that. More recently, the CKD-centric NAP (with unclear EEV incentives) further affected the SUV’s business case here, however Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia (MMM) is not ruling out the possibility of CKD local assembly for the Outlander PHEV.

There is another ray of hope – the Outlander PHEV is technically an EV with a range extender engine to recharge the battery on the fly, and there is word that the government is considering reintroducing incentives for CBU EVs in Malaysia. In the UK, the plug-in SUV is priced the same as the base Outlander Diesel model, at £28,249 (around RM155k at current exchange rates).

According to a Berita Harian report, GreenTech Malaysia CEO Ahmad Hadri Haris said that import and excise duty exemptions on EVs are set to be reinstated as part of an “electric vehicle induction plan” that will be announced soon, pending cabinet approval.

Outlander PHEV Spy-06

“EV manufacturers want to see the government’s commitment in building the market in this country through the development of infrastructure, charging stations and demand for EVs, as well as the offering of tax incentives. Basically, they are interested in bringing in their own EV models if there is potential here,” he said.

“Because of that, we need import and excise duty exemptions on EVs, so that citizens in this country are able to afford electric cars and it will help build demand for these kinds of vehicles,” he added.

The government also injected a RM3 million grant to help First Energy Network (FEN) build 300 EV charging stations, some of which will be in the Klang Valley and others possibly in Melaka and Johor.

First Energy is part of the Tan Chong Group, which distributes Renault and Nissan in Malaysia, both of which have electric cars for sale. The Nissan Leaf has already been launched here, while Renault has brought in the Renault Fluence EV, Zoe and Twizy for demo purposes as well as for leasing through the COMOS car-sharing programme.