It’s looking quite likely that owners of full-electric vehicles will be paying more for their vehicle’s road tax in the coming future, if what is apparently emerging is right. Word from the grapevine is that the road transport department (JPJ) will be moving to calculating the road tax rates for electric vehicles based on their motor kilowatt output instead of the traditional engine cc displacement as previously utilised.

This will effectively alter the payable road tax rate for EVs, which was initially drafted for calculation based on a kilowatt rate, and for which the table has been in place since 2011. According to JPJ sources, the rates for EVs were previously keyed in by clerks under the cc category during the vehicle registration, as a matter of familiarity. This is set to change.

A hint of the possible revision started last week, when a guideline on the calculation of the road tax for pure electric vehicles began to circulate around social media circles, with some thinking that this was a new, incoming rate. It turns out that it isn’t, and the document pages actually list the existing road tax rates for electric cars and motorbikes from before. But from what is being communicated, it seems that the switch will come about, although how soon remains to be seen.

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Let’s take a look at how the switch to kW-based input would pan out, price-wise. For electric motorbikes (code AA), the road tax for such two-wheelers with an output rating of 7.5 kW and below will be set at a fixed rate of RM2.

For e-motorcycles with a motor output rated above 7.5 kW, the rate is calculated as:

  • Above 7.5 kW to 10 kW – RM9
  • Above 10 kW to 12.5 kW – RM12
  • Above 12.5 kW to 25 kW – RM30
  • Above 25 kW to 40 kW – RM40
  • For e-motorbikes with an output of above 40 kW – RM42
  • For private saloon motorcars – individual (code AB) and company registration (AC) – with a rated output of 80 kW and below, the rates are as such:

  • 50 kW and below – RM20
  • Above 50 kW to 60 kW – RM44
  • Above 60 kW to 70 kW – RM56
  • Above 70 kW to 80 kW – RM72
  • Vehicles with a rated motor output of above 80 kW will have a base road tax applied as well as a progressive rate calculated into the final sum. The road tax rate is calculated as follows, starting with a base rate and an additional rate for each kW increase:

  • Above 80 kW to 90 kW – RM160, and RM0.32 sen for every 0.05 kW (50 watt) increase from 80 kW
  • Above 90 kW to 100 kW – RM224, and RM0.25 sen for every 0.05 kW (50 watt) increase from 90 kW
  • Above 100 kW to 125 kW – RM274, and RM0.50 sen for every 0.05 kW (50 watt) increase from 100 kW
  • Above 125 kW to 150 kW – RM524, and RM1.00 for every 0.05 kW (50 watt) increase from 125 kW
  • Above 150 kW – RM1,024, and RM1.35 for every 0.05 kW (50 watt) increase from 125 kW
  • Given the dearth of fully-electric vehicles on the local scene presently, there won’t be much impact as yet, and even for existing EVs like the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe) there’s really not that much for owners to swallow. The Tesla Model S gets the biggest jump, although users won’t feel the pinch at all, since their cars are leased and the road tax is covered under the terms of the leasing agreement.

    Some calculations to get an idea of what the going rates will be with the supposed new scheme, whenever that comes fully into play. The Zoe has a 65 kW (87 hp) output, so its ‘new’ EV road tax will be RM56. It currently pays RM28 in road tax based on the existing rate, according to a Zoe user.

    The first-gen Leaf, which was introduced by Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM) back in 2013, has an 80 kW motor, and will pay RM72 in road tax under the EV rate. The second-generation Leaf that is set to come to Malaysia later this year has a 110 kW motor, which means it would pay RM374 (RM274 base rate plus RM100 on the calculated increase from 100 kW) in road tax.

    The cost jumps significantly with high output motors, with every kilowatt above 150 kW being charged RM27. The road tax for a facelifted Tesla Model P90D presently is a rather insane RM10, based on a 7.75 kW output (we have no idea how that figure came about).

    Based on the new rate, the road tax for the S 90D, which has a 345 kW (463 hp) working output, will be RM6,289 (RM1,024 base rate plus RM5,265), while the S 70 RWD variant, which has a 235 kW (315 hp) output, will pay RM3,319 (RM1,024 base rate plus RM2,295). Meanwhile, the road tax for the base 270 kW (362 hp) version of the S 85 will be RM4,264 (RM1,024 base rate plus RM3,240).

    Incoming cars like the Porsche Taycan, which has been confirmed for a 2020 arrival here, will also be paying a fair bit in road tax. With an output of 440 kW, the road tax for a base Taycan will be RM8,854 (RM1,024 base rate plus RM7,830 as scaled on the 290 kW difference from 150 kW), and likely higher for the Taycan 4S and Turbo variants. Of course, the sum doesn’t look like it will impact or affect any potential Taycan owners.

    As it goes along, a trend may emerge with the electrification route in which most of the activity will involve offerings up to the 150 kW region. Hybrids and plug-in hybrids (PHEV) will continue to pay road tax based on regular cc displacement for combustion engines, meaning there is no change no matter what kind of output their motors offer. What do you think of the eventual switch to the road tax for EVs? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.