EV conversions of ICE cars not allowed in Malaysia

EV conversions of ICE cars not allowed in Malaysia

The electric vehicle scene is certainly booming at the moment. These days, you’ll find that most major automakers have at least one EV in their product portfolio, while some have even opted to take things a step further by renouncing the internal combustion engine altogether.

While new EV models are a clear sign of this paradigm shift, the rest of the automotive industry has also evolved to keep up with the trend. For instance, where crate engines are typically of the internal combustion variety, you can now buy a crate electric motor from Swindon Powertrain or any other company offering such an item.

This can be used to convert an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle to a full EV, which sounds great for those who prefer the look of their current car but want a fully electric powertrain, and have the means to perform the conversion. However, is this something that is allowed in Malaysia?

This was the question posed by BL Ong, a member of the Malaysian Electric Vehicle Owners Club (MyEVOC), to the road transport department (JPJ). According to the department, ICE to EV conversions are not allowed under Section 6(1) of the Road Transport Act 1987 as well as Rule 9B of the Motor Vehicles (Construction and Use) Rules 1959.

EV conversions of ICE cars not allowed in Malaysia

Looking at the Road Transport Act 1987 first, Section 6(1) states that it is unlawful (i.e., illegal) to use a motor vehicle which “does not comply with the rules as to construction, weight, equipment, use and age applicable to the class or description of motor vehicle to which such motor vehicle belongs.”

There is a caveat here, as authorisation can be given to “special motor vehicles, or special types of motor vehicles, which are constructed either for special purposes or for tests or trials and of new or improved types of motor vehicles, whether wheeled or wheelless.”

So, you can’t just plonk in an electric motor into your Perodua Myvi, for instance, and drive it out on public roads like normal. However, you can build a prototype and have it authorised for demonstrations and testing, which is likely the path that EV Innovations took for its Honda Jazz-based MyKar.

EV conversions of ICE cars not allowed in Malaysia

As for the Motor Vehicles (Construction and Use) Rules 1959, this received a revision in the form of the Motor Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) Rules 2011, which came into operation on January 1, 2012. Most rules and acts in Malaysia receive amendments over time, with the attorney-general’s chambers (AGC) publishing federal government gazettes that outline the revisions.

Under the amendment, rules 9A and 9B were added, with the former’s sub-rule 9A(1) stating “a motor vehicle shall not be constructed unless” it has gained the approval of the director general. It’s also mentioned that a motor vehicle referred to in sub-rule 9A(1) shall include an electric motor vehicle.

This leads to rule 9B, which lays out requirements for an electric motor vehicle. The important notes here include the use of a battery, including its installation, that is certified by a competent body recognised by the director general. This also applies to the electrical wiring system used, and for an electric motorcycle, it must conform to the MS 2413 specification for electric motorcycles issued by the department of standards.

EV conversions of ICE cars not allowed in Malaysia

Other requirements for an electric motor vehicle include bearing a clear, distinct and untampered motor serial number and chassis number; have a maximum design speed exceeding 50 km/h; and have a climbing capability exceeding 20% gradient.

We’re no lawyers, but it’s quite clear that converting an ICE car to become an EV will require a lot of prior validation and approval from relevant parties before it can be constructed for use on public roads. It certainly makes sense given that EVs employ high-voltage systems, which are certainly dangerous to work with. Additionally, major car brands spend millions of dollars to ensure their EVs are safe in the event of an accident, which is something that common folk aren’t able to do.

It should also be noted that the JPJ has strict rulings on ICE engine transplants too: not exceeding 30% capacity increase and no major modifications to the car’s chassis. Changing to an electric powertrain is obviously a whole different ballgame. As such, converting an ICE car to an EV isn’t something that the department permits currently.

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Gerard Lye

Originating from the corporate world with a background in finance and economics, Gerard’s strong love for cars led him to take the plunge into the automotive media industry. It was only then did he realise that there are more things to a car than just horsepower count.

 

Comments

  • @SnakeBabu on Sep 15, 2021 at 12:08 pm

    Thank you Gerard-san for bringing this up, been wondering what is our local gomen stand on this matter; no surprise here though despite all the right reasons of safety related issues, if let the gomen determine the type of allowed EV conversion module, kroni pulak will come in play..so sad..i’d definitely convert my old satria.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2
    • Mayer on Oct 06, 2021 at 10:39 pm

      Absolutely agree with you. All these crap regulations are to safeguard their cronies pockets. The UK USA Europe administration had already gone through their vigorous tests for overall safety for regular road use. They’re of far higher standards than the crony buggers here. I know bcoz i’m a classic car restorer who worked in those countries.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2
  • Lanhb on Sep 15, 2021 at 12:49 pm

    Regulation issues, for sure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  • Richard on Sep 15, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    Time to catch up. Wake up Malaysia. Practical & safe guidelines must be drawn up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2
  • Solutions on Sep 15, 2021 at 1:55 pm

    1. The ICE to EV conversion should be allowed and just need update on the old outdated laws by parliament approvals. It is an encouragement for recycling a still-roadworthy cars too.

    2. Update the laws with new road tax rates for such converted EV cars (or adopt and reduce the current EV rate), along with new law for updated insurance premium rates with govt subsidies if possible.

    3. Carmakers should provide official technical guide of the conversion of their car models to the public (suitable EV motors, gearbox, converters, pumps, power steering, etc) as per JPJ, Puspakom test n approval later.

    4. Update new EV curriculums/subjects for all automotive courses, degrees for vocational schools/colleges/universities to prepare next generation of students capable of building/servicing EV cars.

    5. Regulate and promote industry producing local EV parts to ensure safety compliance standards, fair price competitions, and prepare vendors for global export of EV car parts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3
  • tiadaid (Member) on Sep 15, 2021 at 1:59 pm

    All these rules and regulations, and for what? Malaysians are still dying on the roads. All it does is to promote waste.

    When I look at YouTube I feel envious at US & UK petrolheads who can do things like putting back “kereta potong” on the road, taking accident cars and making it look new, hell even converting a Tesla into a V8 ICE car! But here in Malaysia, apa pun tak boleh. Even buying perfectly functioning Singapore “scrap” car (scrapped only because COE habis)cannot.

    For what?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2
  • Our authorities are against creativity and inventiveness unlike the west. But then again, too many shoddy works by our technical people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2
  • Donno on Sep 15, 2021 at 3:20 pm

    SO how JPJ is going to deal with classic cars converted and fully road approved to be used in say UK and imported into Malaysia?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2
    • Nizam on Dec 01, 2022 at 11:18 am

      Eh… good idea la! We just import those converted and approved EVs into Malaysia.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • Developed Country on Sep 15, 2021 at 3:27 pm

    Civil servants should be proactive in helping car and motorcycle owners get what they want.

    Not be lazy and just say no to whatever new just to save themselves from doing any extra work.

    If developed countries such as UK can approve things like this, why can’t we just follow and apply whatever laws on electric vehicle conversion that is applicable in the UK?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 4
    • Copy Paste on Sep 17, 2021 at 8:31 am

      Copy paste: “Basically if the converted car haven’t been VTA type approved by JPJ, it is illegal to convert from ICE to EV as a garage kit style.”

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4
    • SmartConsumer on Sep 17, 2021 at 9:41 am

      Biasa la. Malaysia X boleh. Penat tu nak pikir banyak2

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
    • Lets See on Sep 17, 2021 at 4:51 pm

      Well done! Give yourself your own thumbs up!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3
  • Jyougan on Sep 15, 2021 at 6:09 pm

    From the article: According to the department, ICE to EV conversions are not allowed under Section 6(1) of the Road Transport Act 1987 as well as Rule 9B of the Motor Vehicles (Construction and Use) Rules 1959.

    :- Once again the brainless JPJ staffs has shown us just how incompetent they are with the changing of times and technology. All they need to do is check whether there is any company overseas doing this type of conversion and verify the engineering facts. Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure some Automotive College lecturers in this country can at least offer some kind of advice regarding the conversion! It seems their imbecility knows no bounds!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 5
  • a n k on Sep 15, 2021 at 6:58 pm

    Strangely, such ICE to EV conversions are allowed to be done legally in western countries without much difficulty by people who do not have academic engineering qualifications and do not have much technical experience.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2
  • Engineer on Sep 15, 2021 at 7:21 pm

    Basically if the converted car haven’t been VTA type approved by JPJ, it is illegal to convert from ICE to EV as a garage kit style. But for OEM automakers, they can still pursue it, ie Iriz EV, if it makes commercial sense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0
  • In Malaysia, change color also need to report to JPJ. Some more want to convert to EV? Forget it. We already been blocked by a lot of un reasonable law.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2
  • Save the earth ! on Sep 15, 2021 at 11:24 pm

    JPJ will lose money (bankcrup) if whole malaysian covert their Engine to EV, Because EV roadtax is RM 10, so you just pay more on your Insurance. No matter how exoensive you EV is, roadtax is RM 10 !
    .. So where else JPJ to earn money if not from summon and Roadtax ? .. What a sucks JPJ and system, The whole world is polluted by CO² gas from engine, and all moving forwaded to change and save earth, but malaysia rules that powered by own politics and focusing on money income by let go the Environtment as far as income masuk, sumber petroleum still need to get work ! I Hope soon I will fight againts this law when i’m grow up cause now Im 19 !! This is not fare ! The earth is suffering from air pollution and global warming but our country system on this side is useless!! Just wait !!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5
    • https://paultan.org/2021/08/26/ev-road-tax-structure-in-malaysia-how-its-calculated-and-how-rates-are-different-for-sedans-and-non-sedans/
      Some say JPJ will lose money but based on calculations, JPJ will actually gain money if that happens. So which is which, does JPJ gain money or not here as it looks like JPJ is doing it not for money.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  • adam only 5995 years old on Sep 16, 2021 at 11:37 am

    seems like the local relevant authority body had not found a way to generate revenue from this new modification business booming over other continent yet

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2
  • Vic Ley on Sep 16, 2021 at 11:56 am

    Thats the problem when a nation lacks far behind due to draconian laws of 1987 and a pathetic education system that creates immulators and not innovators, period.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3
  • doun gif adam on Sep 17, 2021 at 3:29 pm

    With all these outdated regulations, why bother with EVs, as long a subsidized fossil fuels & inexpensive IC engined motor vehicles are still available.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2
  • Hadi Hussien on Sep 17, 2021 at 8:06 pm

    We are still stuck in 1959 law..
    Malaysia merdeka 1957.
    Menteri dah Berapa kali tukar..
    But we are stuck in 1959.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2
  • Lihwoi on Sep 19, 2021 at 7:25 pm

    So, we need to wait how long for proton to come out EV car? Rebatch tesla for Perdana?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3
  • Dilbert123 on Dec 11, 2021 at 5:10 pm

    The millions of ICE vehicles here, if not converted to EV, what will happen to them?
    It makes much more sense for JPJ to formulate regulations for EV conversion and set up inspection facilities to certify converted vehicles for road use. This will save thousands of ringgit for consumers and billions of RM for the nation by NOT importing new EV cars.
    It will accelerate the transition to a lower carbon footprint, help clean the air and our rivers etc

    However how to provide Datuks and Tan Sris with their rent collection? Plus too many dungus in the gomen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • mike jason on Jul 20, 2022 at 7:43 pm

    what will happen to Proton and perodua if can convert electric? The companies will collapse, ….the biggest complaint now is the shitty engine so the outcome is logical.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • ɹɐɥz∀ on Sep 27, 2022 at 6:29 am

    JPJ still using outdated 1959 laws & regulations?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • Adrian on Dec 21, 2022 at 1:29 pm

    With 2023 approching, has JPJs stance changed since this article came out? Can we convert an ICE car to an EV?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • Danial on Mar 28, 2023 at 12:08 am

    man i high hope then i read this article then my hope is gone.

    no wonder we have no creator. we only can have businessman. so sad my country.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
 

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