More about the third national car project, which was mooted by prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in June. The project, which is supposed to be launched by 2020, may take on an electrification route if a proposal by two Chinese electric vehicle (EV) companies comes through.

According to The Star, GSR Capital and Envision Energy has outlined a US$10 billion (RM41 billion) investment in the project, spread over a five-year period. The proposal was reportedly submitted to the government ahead of the Mahathir’s current visit to China.

The framework of the plan, which was seen by the publication, includes the setting up of the new national car plant as well as a regional EV automobile hub in southern Perak, where a major auto city project was planned by the previous Barisan Nasional government.

The proposal made by the two companies, which will work in partnership with Malaysian company Concept Fields, also outlines the participation of Nissan, through Envision. The latter holds a 75% stake in Nissan’s electric vehicle unit AESC, which will be brought in to work together with GSR Capital to set up the regional EV manufacturing facility.

The project will be spearheaded by GSR Capital, which will be facilitating FDI of about US$10 billion into Malaysia, while AESC will provide the technology to produce an electric car. Supposedly, EV battery production is also an integral part of the plan.

Aside from manufacturing, the proposal also outlines the establishment of an education hub – to train skilled employees locally – and the creation of R&D facilities. The JV project would also result in the creation of 15,000 new jobs.

The scope of the project, should it happen, would also fall in line with the government’s stand on how it is financed. Last week, finance minister Lim Guan Eng reiterated that the third national car project will be funded by the private sector and not with public funds.