The third national car project could see the eventual vehicle emerge to be fully powered by liquid petroleum gas (LPG), if a local company has its way. The New Straits Times reports that Astana City Group is looking at heading down that route, bringing to the table technology that enables cars to use LPG.

According to Astana City MD Nik Mohd Fareez Nik Ahmad Azman, the company has submitted a proposal on the project to the ministry of international trade and industry (MITI) via its Thai partner, Pap Econ. Among the benefits of LPG is its ability to reduce carbon emissions by 20% compared to petrol, he said. “Take Japan, for example. Their government has made it compulsory for taxis to use LPG. This is because it is much more cost-effective and causes less environmental pollution,” he said.

The prototype for the third national car is expected to surface in the first quarter of this year, and Astana City Group’s long-term plans include the construction of LPG refuelling stations nationwide, which will create further economic opportunities for locals, he said.

The company has sent applications to the government for the construction of said LPG stations and is now awaiting response, Nik Mohd Fareez said. “If the government agrees to our application, we plan to cooperate with Mara and Petronas in terms of acquiring manpower and launching the stations,” he added.

Last week, the entrepreneur development ministry was said to have approved approximately RM20 million in funding for the new national car project (NNCP), which minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof said were sourced from existing grants that have already been approved. Redzuan has since clarified that the RM20 million sum secured was not just for the new national car prototype, and that it is part of he allocation for the ministry’s research and development as a whole.