Volvo Car Malaysia’s (VCM) introduction of the XC40 Recharge Pure Electric today marks the company’s push into electric vehicles, and it’s one step towards a target goal: to be the number one “eLuxury” car brand in the country – basically selling the most premium EVs than the competition.

Leaning heavily into EVs is also in line with Volvo’s global ambitions, which will see EVs make up 50% of global sales by 2025, an EV-only line-up by 2030 and being a climate neutral company by 2040.

Locally, VCM is aiming for EVs to contribute 75% of total sales by 2025, and it believes this is possible as its customers are considered to be more “aspirational” and more willing to make the switch. The “fantastic driving experience of Volvo’s EVs” are also said to help drive sales for these completely zero-emissions models.

The XC40 Recharge Pure Electric is the first EV to join the local line-up, but we’ll only get pricing for it next month on April 4. Before 2022 comes to a close, it will be joined by its more stylish sibling, the C40 Recharge. It doesn’t stop there, as VCM says it will launch a new EV in Malaysia every year for the next five years, so we should expect the production Concept Recharge (reportedly called the Embla), possible EV successors to current models and rumoured entry-level offerings in the future – time will tell.

“Volvo Car Malaysia is ready to implement Volvo’s global plan for a fully electric line-up by 2030, starting with the launch of the XC40 Recharge Pure Electric today,” said Charles Frump, managing director of VCM.

“The XC40 Recharge Pure Electric is just one of our many steps to encourage consumers to adopt electric vehicles for a more sustainable future. By mid-decade, we’re aiming to reduce our overall CO2 lifecycle emissions per car by 40%. This means more than simply reducing tailpipe emissions – electrification is not enough. We must reduce CO2 emissions across our operations and supply chain,” he added.

Local production will continue to be important to VCM, and the XC40 Recharge Pure Electric is touted as the first CKD model in Malaysia. It’s a big deal not just because VCM can proudly declare as such, but it also allows the company and to an extent, its customers, to take advantage of the government’s incentives for EVs.

Looking back at the ministry of finance’s Budget 2022 (Bajet 2022) speech, components for CKD EVs are fully exempt from import duty, while CKD EVs are fully exempt from excise duty and sales tax – these incentives are active from January 1, 2022 right on through to December 31, 2025.

By comparison, fully-imported (CBU) EVs benefit from full import duty and excise duty exemption from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2023. As such, VCM isn’t compromised by the shorter time frame to enjoy these incentives and the lack of sales tax exemption if they sold CBU EVs (we’ve covered this before).

The company is also proud to say that Volvo is the only automotive maker in the country with a full range of CKD plug-in hybrids, so everything from the XC40 Recharge to the S90 Recharge are made at Volvo Car Manufacturing Malaysia’s plant in Shah Alam. It should be noted that these locally-produced Volvo EVs (including the upcoming C40 Recharge) are not just for our market, but will also be exported to other markets in the ASEAN region soon.