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So, the brand is finally officially coming to Malaysia, but not quite in the manner you expect – if all goes according to plan, the Tesla Model S 70D and S 85 models are set to make their Malaysian debut towards the later half of the year, but they will not be available for purchase commercially.

The cars are set to be available only through a leasing scheme, and will be offered on a two-year leasing period to government-linked companies (GLC) for use as official cars. The Teslas will be brought in by Malaysian Green Technology Corporation (GreenTech Malaysia), which will run the entire operation directly.

The non-profit organisation under the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water (KeTTHA), which purpose is to catalyse green tech deployment, plans to run the initiative to allow policy makers and persons of influence to better understand the merits of electric vehicles (EVs) by sampling the technology for themselves.

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The programme also falls in line with the organisation’s current push to bring to the forefront its electric mobility blueprint, which aims to get the EV movement going in a big way in the country.

A total of 120 Model S units are set to be deployed in the programme, consisting of a mix of all-wheel drive 70D and rear-wheel drive 85 variant types. Ensuring a sufficient operating range and having enough space to suit working needs was the reason in opting for the Tesla route, GreenTech Malaysia CEO Ahmad Hadri Haris explained recently at a private luncheon.

“The Tesla was the only vehicle that fit the parameters we had defined for the programme. Its sedan format and overall disposition fits its use as an official car, and the 400 km range is sufficient for most needs. No other EV we looked at fulfilled both these requirements,” he explained.

As for the leasing path, he said that Tesla Motors was not keen to have its cars sold in direct fashion here, or for that matter, even have them here at all, but following discussions, the automaker finally agreed to allow GreenTech Malaysia to obtain the cars with the understanding that they were to be used for increasing awareness of EVs amongst policy makers and the government.

Ahmad Hadri added that under the agreement, GreenTech Malaysia cannot sell the cars for a period of two years, but GLCs interested in purchasing the cars will be able do so once the 24-month timeframe has expired, which is also when the leasing agreement period per vehicle comes to an end.

Leasing costs are still being studied, with the possibility of it being in the region of around RM6,000 per month, Ahmad Hadri said, adding that GreenTech Malaysia was also in the midst of sourcing out a provider to service the vehicles during the operational period of the progamme.

He said that the cost of the entire initiative, from initial investment and the bulk purchase of the cars right down to its operational aspects were to be borne solely by GreenTech Malaysia, adding that there would be no public funds involved.

Some notes about the cars that will be coming in – Ahmad Hadri told paultan.org that most of the 120 vehicles will be made up of the 329 hp 70D, which has an operating range of 386 km. A number of 70Ds will be kitted out with the optional executive seats, which revises the rear bench to a twin-occupant-only row.

The S 85, meanwhile, is the RWD version of the type, and the 362 hp variant can travel up to 426 km on a single charge. As standard, the Model S comes equipped with a single 10 kW charger, a mobile connector with a 240 volt outlet as well as a SAE J1772 public charging adaptor.

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In terms of homologation, the vehicle type approval (VTA) for the S 85 has already been carried out – the model was approved by JPJ last week. As for the S 70D, Ahmad Hadri said that the variant is in the midst of being prepared for its submission for VTA.

He added that GreenTech Malaysia is targeting to ready the cars for ministerial use by the time the 27th ASEAN Summit in KL takes place in late November.

When the cars are formally introduced here, Malaysia will become the first country in the region to see the debut of the Tesla Model S on an official basis – apparently, the odd unit that has been spotted in the country is a private import, and is not supported by Tesla.