DC fast charging network in Malaysia – implementation delays must be addressed quickly, says MyEVOC

The government’s electric vehicle incentives, which kicked off at the start of the year, has seen rising interest in these vehicles, and with more models expected to be introduced in the country, take up is set to grow over the course of the next year.

However, the public charging infrastructure doesn’t seem to be keeping up, according to Malaysian Electric Vehicle Owners Club (MyEVOC) president, Datuk Shahrol Halmi, and the slow movement on that front could leave many EV owners lining up for long periods to charge their vehicle as EV numbers grow as well as potentially impact adoption.

In a post on LinkedIn, he said implementation delays need to be addressed, and quickly. “More EVs are getting delivered in Q2/3 2022 and we can easily foresee queues forming up to charge at stations along the highway soon,” he wrote in his post.

He said that as predicted, one of the key factors affecting Malaysia’s EV charging infrastructure implementation is not grid capacity, but rather the bottlenecks in the distribution/retail network, primarily brought about by red tape.

Using the PEKEMA DCFC network as an example, he said that while association members were ramping up their installations, many of the sites (like those in the photos seen above) are waiting for electricity supply upgrades from Tenaga Nasional Berhad. The association has committed to implement 1,000 DC chargers across the country by 2025, but as of now, there are fewer than 20. It’s likely that unless a miracle happens, that 2025 deadline will not be met.

He added that while some of the 1,000 DC chargers are targeted for highway EV users, it seems that this part of the implementation is also delayed, again due to bureaucracy. “The highway ones are likely caused by multiple layers of approvals needed, such as from the highway operator, highway authority, local authorities as well as TNB,” he told paultan.org.

He noted that even a large and influential company such as Shell is struggling to cut through red tape involved in its Recharge HPC network implementation along PLUS Malaysia’s North-South Expressway. “The initial target date of four locations by end of 2021 has come and gone, with only one (Tangkak) operational in January 2022,” he wrote.

DC fast charging network in Malaysia – implementation delays must be addressed quickly, says MyEVOC

The Shell Recharge HPC network has since been updated to 12 charging points at six Shell stations located along the NSE. When the Tangkak charger was launched, Shell said that the other charging points – at Shell stations in Seremban R&R (North Bound), Seremban R&R (South Bound), Pagoh R&R (South Bound), Simpang Pulai RTC (North Bound) and Tapah R&R (South Bound) – in the entire network was expected to be ready by the end of Q1 this year. We’ve now moved into Q2 of the year.

Shahrol said that a special task force was needed to facilitate charging infrastructure implementation, something similar to PEMUDAH, in order to cut through the red tape, centralise aspects and speed up the process. He added that users’ feedback must be taken seriously.

In making the push for the DC fast charging network infrastructure to grow as quickly as possible, he told paultan.org that “a denser charging infrastructure would also help make EVs more accessible, by making EVs with smaller batteries (and therefore less costly) with shorter range practical.” The question is, will it move fast enough, or will we still be talking about the same thing down the road?

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