Electrification may be the future, but some places show better growth than others. Here, the steps being taken can be deemed small and slow, with hybrids and plug-in hybrids remaining a trickle in the larger scheme of things, and full electric vehicles very much still a rarity.

Cost is the biggest hurdle, of course, but as is the case just about everywhere, government assistance is key to growth. Locally, policies and initiatives haven’t been always been clearly and consistently defined, which is why the mention of one a couple of days ago came as bit of a surprise.

Speaking at the Dewan Rakyat, deputy transport minister Datuk Kamaruddin Jaffar said the government has always encouraged the use of vehicles using green technology by promoting various initiatives, and among these are a 50% reduction in road tax for full-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV), as Bernama reports.

The report wasn’t all that clear about whether this is a proposal or something that is being considered. For sure, it’s not reality, because no such relief is in place, at least not for PHEVs. Currently, all PHEVs registered in Malaysia do not enjoy any such halving of their road tax, paying the going rate based on regular displacement calculations.

Electric vehicles do “enjoy” some relief in road tax at present, but this is more of it being a result of a technical loophole, as we reported last month. For example, the Renault Zoe currently pays RM28 in road tax when it should be paying RM56, if it was based on the set of motor kilowatt output-based calculations that were drafted for EVs back in 2011.

The half-rate is the result of traditional engine cc displacement being used to calculate the road tax, where the rates for EVs were previously keyed in under the cc category during the vehicle registration as a matter of familiarity. This will change at some point, and that 50% reduction will go as a result to the switch to kilowatt-based input and calculations.

In related news, Kamarudin revealed the number of EVs and PHEVs that were currently on Malaysian roads. Replying to a question by Senator Datuk Seri Khairuddin Samad on the number of vehicles registered with the transport ministry, he said a total of 5,403 electric cars and 46,981 plug-in hybrid vehicles were registered as at March 31 this year.

“Of the total, Selangor recorded the highest number of registered electric cars at 2,791, while Federal Territory recorded the highest number of hybrid cars at 25,360,” he said.