The development of Proton’s electric car is still in its prototype stage, the Dewan Rakyat was told yesterday, according to a Bernama report.

In response to Dr Che Rosli Che Mat (PAS-Hulu Langat), who asked about the car’s progress, deputy energy, green technology and water minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said the prototype is currently undergoing several intensive quality and safety tests.

“The tests also take into account the needs of customers, and the electric car can be produced at a reasonable price. The vehicle’s performance also meets international standards,” Mahdzir said.

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“The government fully supports the national car company’s efforts to develop an electric car and so the close collaboration between government, manufacturers, utility suppliers and other stakeholders is needed to promote the usage of electric cars, thus making Malaysia an electric car production hub in ASEAN,” he added.

The aforementioned car is likely the Proton Iriz EV (electric vehicle), which has been developed in collaboration with South Korea’s LG Electronics. The car can apparently travel 240 km on one charge, beating the Nissan Leaf‘s NEDC-rated 195 km.

Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI) CEO Madani Sahari has previously said that the Proton EV could cost under RM100k when it launches late-2016 or early-2017. The other company that’s going to make EVs here is China’s BAIC – operations are set to begin at the Gurun, Kedah plant in July 2016. Are we really on our way to becoming an ASEAN EV hub?