There have been a lot of talk about electric vehicles (EVs) even before the government announced duty-free incentives for battery-powered cars in Budget 2022, but did you know that only less than 300 EVs were sold in 2021?

In today’s 2021 annual review virtual press conference, Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) president Datuk Aishah Ahmad revealed that just 274 units of new EVs were registered last year (by MAA members, which are the OEMs, not including parallel/grey market imports). That’s minuscule when you consider that last year’s total industry volume (total sales) was 508,911 units.

However, we’re set to see EV numbers go up by a fair bit this year as Budget 2022 incentives kicks in. “For 2022, it will be alot higher as a lot of companies are bringing in EVs because of the tax exemption. We don’t have the percentage but it will be very much higher,” Aishah said.

“For EVs, since the government announced the exemption on excise duty, import duty and sales tax, there have been a lot of interest in EVs and bringing in EVs. The government itself, as far as I know, they’re ramping up the policies to make sure that there will be more EV production in Malaysia. There’s a great deal of emphasis of EVs now,” she added.

The government’s ultimate aim is to have car companies set up EV bases in the country, and Aishah said that the tax exemption opening move has caused many to sit up and take notice.

“As far as policy (is concerned), the very fact that they announced tax exemption for EVs has stimulated OEM interest to come and invest in Malaysia. There have been a lot of questions and requests from many companies to come and invest in EVs in Malaysia. I’m told that the government is very serious in making sure that EVs will be the future of the type of vehicles to be implemented in Malaysia,” she said.

“We think that the incentive for CBU EVs for two years is a bit of a short timeframe, and we will request the government to consider extending it in some form or another. But it is a good start. For CKD operations, there are some members who are already talking about producing EVs in CKD form in Malaysia,” the MAA chief added.

Curious about EVs and want to take advantage of this limited-time tax-free window? Check out our buying guide of all the pure EVs currently sold in Malaysia, and what’s coming soon this year.