Proton and electric carmaker smart Automobile Company today formalised its partnership with the signing of a general distributorship agreement (GDA), which will see the former sell and service smart vehicles in Malaysia and Thailand. This is a follow up from the memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed by both companies back in January this year.

The #1 will be the first smart model to be sold by Proton in Malaysia, with an official launch set to take place early in the fourth quarter of 2023 (Q4 2023). First unveiled in April, the #1 is built on Geely’s Sustainable Electric Architecture (SEA) and styled by Mercedes-Benz. The electric vehicle (EV) boasts a 66-kWh battery, 440 km of range (WLTP cycle) and a rear-mounted electric motor with 272 PS (200 kW) and 343 Nm of torque.

In its release, Proton said it will model retail operations for smart based on what the company does in other markets like China and the United Kingdom. Additionally, the company also announced its intention to invest in a charging network by collaborating with a local charging provider, which will also see the installation of domestic units for customers who intend to charge their EVs at home.

Beyond the retail side of things, Proton says its entry into the EV segment with smart will also allow it to attract young talents given the rapid shift in job preference for new workers. This is part of the company’s long-term plans for sustainability and energy efficiency as well as increasing its ESG (environmental, social and governance) scores to draw in the next generation of automotive industry workers.

“Today marks a big step for Proton’s entry into the new energy vehicle market. The first phase of business with smart is focused on retailing but it provides us with valuable knowledge and experience on not only how to service and charge EVs but also how to transform the way we interact with our customers,” said Li Chunrong, CEO of Proton.

“The move into this market segment will also help drive Proton’s move towards being more environmentally friendly in all facets of our operations as we work to help Malaysia achieve its carbon neutrality target by 2050,” he added.

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