80% of Malaysian drivers want to see more EVs on the road, but 59% will still buy petrol cars next – BMW

80% of Malaysian drivers want to see more EVs on the road, but 59% will still buy petrol cars next – BMW

Eight out of 10 Malaysian drivers want to see more electric vehicles (EVs) on the road, according to a recent survey by BMW Group. That’s a pretty high figure, right? However, 59% of those polled say they will still buy internal combustion engine (ICE) powered cars next. So, EVs are good and more people should buy, but let them buy first while I wait and see – how very Malaysian.

Here are a few points from the online survey, which polled 4,000 drivers from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand to further understand familiarity and preference toward EVs among drivers in our region. Other topics explored included attitudes toward the impact of EVs on the environment as well as factors that would motivate people to buy an EV.

First, Malaysia is a highly car-dependent country with one of the highest car ownership rates in Southeast Asia. 85% of respondents said that they drive every one to three days, either to and from the office (74%), run daily errands (65%), or travel on the weekends (36%).

80% of Malaysian drivers want to see more EVs on the road, but 59% will still buy petrol cars next – BMW

Then, 80% of Malaysian drivers desire to see more EVs on the road, with the hope of contributing to a more environmentally conscious world. Reduced carbon emissions (72%), cost savings from using electricity instead of petrol (49%) and a more premium experience (40%) are some of the key benefits cited by drivers who see the merits of more EVs on Malaysian roads.

However, the Malaysians in the survey also say that they will likely choose a petrol vehicle (59%) for their next purchase, despite the motivations to go the EV route. Common concerns included the driving range of EVs, maintenance costs as well as the difficulty in keeping their EVs charged.

Specifically, 33% of survey respondents believe that EVs can only travel up to 100 km before requiring a recharge, another 41% expect EVs to be more expensive to service or maintain over a period of 10 years, and 29% believe that charging EVs would be difficult. While the latter might be true, depending on your location and type of residence, the other two concerns are misconceptions that just aren’t true today.

80% of Malaysian drivers want to see more EVs on the road, but 59% will still buy petrol cars next – BMW

Let’s talk about range. Long before EVs were mainstream, Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia brought in the i-MiEV, first as a Langkawi pilot project in 2012, then to sell commercially in 2013 (the first EV on sale in Malaysia). The i-MiEV’s NEDC range was rated at 150 km – even if you shave 20% off the official quote for a more real-world figure, it’s 120 km. So, EVs from 10 years ago were already capable of more than 100 km.

Today, the tech is better, batteries are bigger and more dense, and the current crop of EVs can do multiple times the i-MiEV’s range. Since it’s BMW’s survey, the firm’s iX3 SUV, with a 73.8 kWh battery, has WLTP range from 453 km. Priced from RM307k tax-free, it’s a bit expensive, you say.

OK, here’s something much more affordable. Starting at less than half the iX3’s price is the Hyundai Kona Electric. The starter battery for the B-segment crossover is 39.2 kWh, and that’s good for 305 km in the WLTP cycle. The top-spec RM200k 64 kWh car does 484 km, nearly five times the 100 km perceived range.

80% of Malaysian drivers want to see more EVs on the road, but 59% will still buy petrol cars next – BMW

Now, even if you take 20% off those figures, the range should still be more than enough for most users. Also note that the current WLTP cycle is more real-world than the more theoretical, older NEDC standard.

As for maintenance, it’s still early days for EVs in Malaysia (the i-MiEV and first-generation Nissan Leaf did not sell in meaningful numbers), but electric cars have significantly less moving parts and wear-and-tear items compared to an ICE-powered car, and is therefore easier and cheaper to maintain. This isn’t just a blind claim – BMW Malaysia’s own price-list shows that an EV is up to 60% cheaper to maintain compared to a similarly sized ICE vehicle.

Anyway, EVs are still relatively premium and expensive in Malaysia, even with tax breaks, and it’s likely that most of the well-heeled owners will opt for the extended warranty and service package offered by the manufacturers – BMW charges around RM15k for the iX3 (five years), Hyundai RM10k for the Kona Electric (five-year/100,000 km warranty, three-year/50,000 km service).

80% of Malaysian drivers want to see more EVs on the road, but 59% will still buy petrol cars next – BMW

A big question mark surrounds the EV battery, but like the hybrid cars that we’re familiar with, EVs come with long battery warranties for peace of mind – it’s eight years or 160,000 km with both Hyundai and BMW.

The third major concern around EVs is charging. Klang Valley residents would be familiar with ChargEV stations in shopping malls as well as those set up by premium brands such as BMW in malls and hotels to support their plug-in hybrid models, and now EVs. Shell is building ASEAN’s first “cross-border” charging network, and our North-South Highway will get six charging stations this quarter.

EV charging infrastructure is set to grow even faster in the coming years, with Tenaga Nasional getting into the game with PLUS, and Sime Darby looking to into the possibility of being an EV charging point operator. The latter has interest, as it’s the group behind Hyundai, BMW dealership Auto Bavaria and Porsche in Malaysia, among other car brands.

80% of Malaysian drivers want to see more EVs on the road, but 59% will still buy petrol cars next – BMW

Building a wide EV charging network is government policy. Under the Low Carbon Mobility Blueprint (LCMB) 2021-2030, Malaysia plans to set up 10,000 charging stations nationwide by 2025. Of course, this will be done via collaborations within the private sector, and all of the above efforts are counted. So, they’re not “everywhere” yet, but expect to see EV charging stations popping up around us.

As motorists, we always talk about public charging and want a good network before considering EVs. Is that because we’re thinking of ICE vehicles and petrol stations? Unlike gasoline-powered cars, EVs can “fuel up” at home, just like your mobile phone, and home charging would be the main source of power, supplemented by public charging when needed. Or when you’re on a road trip.

Installing a home charger is straightforward for landed houses, but not so for high-rise dwellers. Some newer high-end condominiums have charging bays, but should the PHEV and EV population grow, queues will form.

80% of Malaysian drivers want to see more EVs on the road, but 59% will still buy petrol cars next – BMW

Older buildings will have to get a collective agreement to set up chargers, and as we all know, when it comes to pooled funds, it’s hard to get everyone on the same page. This writer is in the latter category, so the greenest I can go for now is a regular hybrid.

Don’t scoff; the latest crop of hybrids offer fantastic FC and an “EV lite” experience – I managed to get over 25 km/l from mixed driving without trying hard in the Honda City RS e:HEV, for instance. Also, the i-MMD system – which is a kind of range extender EV – whirrs around in electric silence most of the time, offering the driver a stepping stone into the petrol-free future. But you can skip the taster and go for the real thing now, if setting up a home charger isn’t an issue. Here’s why we think the “waiting for public charging” argument is not really relevant.

It’s still early days in terms of EV adoption, but recently, we’ve seen strong growth in public interest, variety of models offered, and charging network. What are your thoughts on EVs? Are you planning to get one in the foreseeable future? If not, why?

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Danny Tan

Danny Tan loves driving as much as he loves a certain herbal meat soup, and sweet engine music as much as drum beats. He has been in the auto industry since 2006, previously filling the pages of two motoring magazines before joining this website. Enjoys detailing the experience more than the technical details.



  • seancorr on Mar 29, 2022 at 5:36 pm

    I think it’s pretty common to know that Tesla is right at the bottom in terms of reliability and they are the market leader in the EV segment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 4
  • Brian on Mar 29, 2022 at 5:44 pm

    Basically typical Malaysians attitude of talking alot and wanting alot, but when ask to put money where their talk is, all tuck in their tails and ran.

    I seriously doubt there is sufficient demand for EV in Malaysia for the current and future. Maybe in 30 years time yes lah.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 44 Thumb down 3
    • Anonymous on Mar 29, 2022 at 8:35 pm

      I predict EV sales will pick up sooner. With Perodua aiming to produce the cheapest EV in the country, Proton having Geely that saving hundreds of millions of RM in R&D, Korean players joining in, and Indonesia becoming an EV battery hub of the region, we could see EV sales spike as soon as 5 years from now.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 4
      • Jeremy on Mar 30, 2022 at 1:11 am

        Perodua talk big only, have been telling us about hybrid Perodua cars for the last 18 years but nothing seen til today. My kid already going to grad from SPM but Perodua still talking and talking about electrification.

        Indonesia as EV battery hub? Ask Tesla again.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1
        • Anonymous on Mar 30, 2022 at 8:46 pm

          Indonesia’s plan to produce EV batteries isn’t tied to Tesla at all. Since they are one of the largest producers of nickel and cobalt they are in demand by everyone. Tesla isn’t the only major player in the industry. Corporations from Korea and China, each much bigger than Tesla, are also interested.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2
      • Celup King on Mar 30, 2022 at 8:04 am

        P2? Wait until head long as giraffe also wont be coming. Firstly where is their hybrid car?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0
  • EVRoadTaxTooHigh on Mar 29, 2022 at 5:50 pm

    I registered interest for some exciting EV models, seriously thinking of buying one. And then I saw the JPJ EV road tax structure… Wham! Terus tak jadi.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 26
    • Gi-Joe on Mar 29, 2022 at 6:56 pm

      Don’t worry people can still afford to pay road tax

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2
    • Able to pay 100k for an EV, but cannot pay 1k a year of road tax? If the EV lasts for 20 years (if), then the total road tax is just 20k, only 20 percent of the EV price. The electricity charging cost is most likely more than that.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 13
    • If you can afford to pay RM200,000 for an EV, what is the roadtax cost to your wallet. Be realistic, don’t expect things must be cheap. Where in the world got such thing all cheap EV, cheap roadtax, cheap electricity.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3
    • Sick & Tired on Mar 29, 2022 at 7:17 pm

      Malaysians complaining about everything as per usual.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 4
  • Autobahn on Mar 29, 2022 at 5:54 pm

    At the moment most ev manufacturer address the battery/hybrid/electric system failure fear by giving out 8 years warranty. What the market players need to know is at current state most cars still running up to 30 years changing hand from one owner to others. The fear of what happen to the second owner when the first owner decided to sell his electric car after 6 years of ownership? Will the second owner have to prepare 100k bill or is there a clear maintenance program to ensure electric/hybrid cars can still be economically maintain after 10 years? That is the main fear now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 17
  • Gi-Joe on Mar 29, 2022 at 7:04 pm

    But not as bad as Tesla, in terms of reliability

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4
  • paanjang16 on Mar 29, 2022 at 7:14 pm

    Some concerns I have with buying a BEV:-
    1) My job requires me to go outstation to sites as far as Penang. Sometimes I need to go on a day trip so going up to Penang in the morning and coming back to KL at night. I am in construction so the place I am going will not have a proper electricity supply to charge my car since the building is not complete and in some cases no TNB supply. No place and time to charge the car during such trips.
    2) The price of a BEV now is wayy out of my budget
    3) While in theory it requires less maintenance, I was shocked that you cannot open the bonnet of some BMW or Mercedes models like the IX40 or the CQS like a normal car. How to check on the radiator water and brake fluid? The air filter intake? Sometimes a simple preventative maintenance goes a long way to avoid a breakdown.
    4) How easy it is to repair the car later on? Can normal workshop repair the car? There are stories of Telsa owners being billed huge sums of money to repair the faulty battery.
    5) In the US there is a movement called “Right to Repair” where anyone can repair their vehicle. Farmers in the US are fed up with John Deere because they are not allowed to repair their own tractors. Imagine if no one but only authorized BMW, Mercedes, Hyundai can repair hence repair costs will be very high and this affects the resale value. Compare to a normal Toyota, P1, P2 where anyone can repair them easily.
    6) Spare parts issue. Not only if got stock or not but can 3rd party workshop buy parts from the manufacturer?
    7) My house is landed and has 3 phase supply to install a Level 2 charger. Those with single phase will likely encounter issues.
    8) Non-standardized charging port. Now got so many that few years from now I am sure all the manufacturers will settle on one standard type like USB. Except maybe Tesla since they are like Apple.
    9) During Marvex 2022 there was the IX40 on display as well as the a 3 series and X5. Somehow the interior of the 3 series and X5 is much better than the IX40. The IX40 press button to open the door feels very cheap compared to door of the normal BMW.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 21
    • kecil25 on Mar 29, 2022 at 10:46 pm

      Based on your part no:
      2) If you have money, you can afford. Prices for electric cars are not worth
      4) All peoples luck when comes to servicing
      6) Disagree. No such thing as spare part issues but unlike some brands but not BMW
      9) iX40 is fresher design and not really cheap, although uses recycled material but save production cost

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  • bieight8 on Mar 29, 2022 at 7:36 pm

    The problem is EV road tax are ridiculously expensive…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 13
    • Exactly. Even if free road tax until 2023 what about later.. Compare with roughly same BHP from a turbo 2.0 with road tax rm379.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • RyanT on Mar 29, 2022 at 7:56 pm

    go for NA hybrid, peace of mind

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0
  • Unker Sam on Mar 29, 2022 at 8:39 pm

    Danny, talk is cheap, so’s writing an editorial. Most manufacturers say move to EVs when they are still producing ICEs with 70:30 split, ICE: EV. Prices are still high in our country, even without tax. Our flip flop gomen one day can say this and then tomorrow change policy. Road tax structure down the road may be higher than expected, while charging stations are still not enough even in KV. If run out of power, cnt even put in N and push tepi jalan and someone with a charger comes to charge you up.

    Also if you decide to change cars, who will want to buy from you? All afraid to pay for batteries that are really not cheap, whatever car brand. Even hybrids have low resale value, like you I am also a CRZ owner and values have dropped from 119k to 29k after 7 years, a City has better rv.

    Malaysians are not just waiting and see but very hesitant and most who buy EVs have 1-3 extra cars at home, if its your main car, risky or not? KV alone is now flood prone, can the manufacturers guarantee EVs going thru puddles will be ok much less a 1 foot flood?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 25
    • kecil25 on Mar 29, 2022 at 10:52 pm

      Hybrid and ev are the future car technology and reduces carbon emissions

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 7
  • Lim Jason on Mar 29, 2022 at 9:06 pm

    Similar situation when some consumer ask car manufacturer to produce manual shift
    End up they buy auto lol

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3
  • The main problem is our fuel is heavily subsidized, even Ron 97 also slightly lower than other country’s Ron 95.
    If no more subsidize, selling over RM4/Litre, everyone will make EV 1st choice and vehicle resale price will also up.
    A hybrid car can save you 30% fuel. You can do the math how much saving u can get with EV, especially in country without subsidize.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8
    • Rakyat Malaysia on Mar 30, 2022 at 9:30 am

      To make EV cheaper, rakyat would have to suffer rising cost of living for much of everything else if petrol is free floated. Thankfully Caring G considered this factor when they extended petrol subsidy program.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
    • QChan on Mar 30, 2022 at 12:42 pm

      Quote – “If no more subsidize, selling over RM4/Litre, everyone will make EV 1st choice and vehicle resale price will also up.

      A hybrid car can save you 30% fuel. You can do the math how much saving u can get with EV, especially in country without subsidize.”

      Yes, but ONLY for landed homes-lar…..

      Apartment and Condo dwellers do not have the power source to charge-up their EVs. There are literally hundreds of thousands upon hundreds of thousands of such dwellers out there!

      This will definitely restrict dramatically the take-up rate, irrespective of the price of Ron 95. I live in a Condo and I can’t see how I can purchase an EV, even if I want to.

      High EV take-up rate is but a fleeting dream in the near term. :)

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
    • Not so green on Mar 30, 2022 at 1:20 pm

      Would you consider EV if the replacement cost of the battery is about 30% – 40% of the cost of your car? I doubt you will be happy to do so. Even if you dispose of your EV before the battery life span, do you think you can get a good RV? The next buyer even he is interested in EV will think hard whether he can afford the replacement cost of the battery, that will push down further the RV of the EV car.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1
  • Adding on …
    7) How is it an issue if you have single phase? You can still charge your EV overnight with single phase either directly or using a wallbox. Charging times will be longer but with WLTP ranges of about 400km, city drivers will need to do overnight charging maybe once a week.

    6) spare issues happen with ICE vehicles too.
    8) why are you worried about standard charging ports? you buy one EV, use that charging port lah… unless you’re thinking of owning a fleet of different EV and need multiple charging ports.

    The original post is just a laundry list of complaints with no proper research done.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
  • Mr. Sotong on Mar 30, 2022 at 9:54 am

    The focus should be on the masses. If the EV’s are not within their purchasing affordability, it will still be niche and don’t expect much improvement to the environment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3
  • jangan gaduh la on Mar 30, 2022 at 5:02 pm

    Can’t afford an EV. It’s still a rich man’s proposition no matter how you slice it. I can barely afford petrol as it is……

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

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