Tesla Malaysia

  • Tesla Malaysia registers ADAS radar with SIRIM

    Tesla Malaysia registers ADAS radar with SIRIM

    Tesla Malaysia appears to be moving closer to a sales launch in the Malaysian market as these recent filings for products with SIRIM show.

    SIRIM’s database shows Tesla Sdn Bhd had applied for three products to be registered – “short range radar equipment”, “tire pressure monitoring system”, and “mobile phone wireless charger”. These were approved around May 18-19 2023.

    Tesla Malaysia registers ADAS radar with SIRIM

    Tesla radar 1541584

    Tesla has been controversial in the past for its stance where it believed a pure vision-based system would enable full autonomous driving for its cars. However, it could be making a U-turn on that stance and the first sign of it was sometime back in June 2022 where Tesla filed to use an ADAS radar with the FCC.

    The part number 1541584 registered with SIRIM appears to be the same part that Tesla registered with the FCC. It operates in the 76-77 GHz spectrum.

    With this SIRIM filing, it could mean that Model 3 and Model Y cars bound for the Malaysian market will implement driver aid (ADAS) features using radar instead of relying purely on cameras.

    As for the other two products, a TPMS and a wireless charger is nothing out of the ordinary, but the WC3 model of the wireless charger refers to an in-car wireless charger used in both the Model 3 and Model Y with a max output of 15W, able to charge two phones via Qi wireless charging at 7.5W each.

  • Tesla Malaysia won’t sell you a Model S or Model X because they’re no longer available in right hand drive

    Tesla Model S facelift

    When Tesla Malaysia is finally up and running, it will most likely start with sales of the Tesla Model 3 sedan and Tesla Model Y SUV, which is the same line-up as our neighbours Singapore and Thailand.

    However, it will probably stay that way for a long time as it appears Tesla has decided to scrap right hand drive plans for its larger, more expensive cars the Model S and Model X.

    This even includes first world right hand drive countries like UK and Australia, where Tesla has taken bookings. Bookings will be refunded and credits will be offered towards the purchase of a Model 3 or Model Y. In countries like UK however, Tesla will happily sell you a left hand drive if you really want one.

    To be clear, this refers to the latest Tesla Model S and X updates that includes the triple motor Plaid version. Previous versions of the Tesla Model S and Tesla Model Y were available as a right hand drive and we even leased a Tesla Model S in Malaysia for almost 3 years and published a review.

    As a result of this, we think sales of right hand drive Taycans will probably go through the roof, as if it isn’t already that way to begin with.

    If you want a Tesla Model S or Tesla Model X now, your best bet will be the classifieds, where there are a few grey import Teslas available.

  • Tesla car prices in Malaysia when purchased through official channels – can Thailand pricing be a clue?

    Tesla car prices in Malaysia when purchased through official channels – can Thailand pricing be a clue?

    Now that we know that Tesla is officially coming to Malaysia, Tesla will suddenly be on the purchase consideration of many who have not considered a car from the American brand before this.

    It’s understandable of course. First you have to have to get through mental barrier of the idea of using an electric car as a daily driver instead of an internal combustion engine car, with concerns of battery range and the availability of chargers being the primary deterrent.

    Then, even after you have accepted that an electric car could be your next car, there’s the concern of aftersales support for Tesla cars in Malaysia. The closest official service centre right now is in Singapore, and owners from the Greentech leasing program have been sending their cars back to Hong Kong for major work.

    Grey import Tesla buyers have so far been maintained by third party workshops run by enterprising Malaysians such as Exotic Mods, who seem to have been doing a good job so far. I have never heard of an unrepairable Tesla based on my lurking in Tesla owner groups.

    Tesla car prices in Malaysia when purchased through official channels – can Thailand pricing be a clue?

    How much will officially imported Malaysian Tesla buyers pay for their cars? Fully imported electric cars are currently exempted from import duty and excise duty. The only duty they will have to pay is 10% SST.

    So it’s logical that Tesla Malaysia official imports might be cheaper than the grey import Teslas currently on sale because the grey importer’s profit margin would be out of the picture. But how much could they be priced at? Perhaps we could take the pricing of Teslas in our northern neighbour Thailand as a guideline.

    The following is the price of the Tesla Model 3 and Y in Thailand, which are the only Tesla models currently on sale there (no Model S and X yet):

    • Tesla Model 3 SR+ – THB 1,759,000
    • Tesla Model 3 LR – THB 1,999,000
    • Tesla Model 3 P – THB 2,309,000
    • Tesla Model Y SR+ – THB 1,959,000
    • Tesla Model Y LR – THB 2,259,000
    • Tesla Model Y P – THB 2,509,000

    At today’s exchange rate, this is how much the above prices would be in Malaysian ringgit:

    • Tesla Model 3 SR+ – RM225k
    • Tesla Model 3 LR – RM256k
    • Tesla Model 3 P – RM296k
    • Tesla Model Y SR+ – RM251k
    • Tesla Model Y LR – RM290k
    • Tesla Model Y P – RM322k

    If you add on 10% as a buffer for SST, could this is be what Tesla cars could be priced at in Malaysia?

    • Tesla Model 3 SR+ – RM247k
    • Tesla Model 3 LR – RM281k
    • Tesla Model 3 P – RM326k
    • Tesla Model Y SR+ – RM276k
    • Tesla Model Y LR – RM319k
    • Tesla Model Y P – RM354k

    What do you think of the potential pricing, would you be attracted to purchase a Tesla in Malaysia? If yes, what model and variant would you be looking at? Cruise around with the family in a Long Range Model Y, or hoon around in a Model 3 Performance? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

  • Tesla Malaysia officially coming with car sales, service centre and superchargers – Tengku Zafrul

    Tesla Malaysia officially coming with car sales, service centre and superchargers – Tengku Zafrul

    It’s official then, Malaysians will soon be able to buy Tesla electric cars direct from Tesla Motors. This announcement was made by MITI minister Tengku Zafrul on his social media platforms today.

    According to Tengku Zafrul, Tesla will establish an office here together with Tesla Experience and service centres as well as a supercharger network. He added that the entry of Tesla was facilitated by MITI through the BEV Global Leaders initiative and Tesla is the first applicant of this initiative by MITI.

    Tesla operates on a direct to consumer sales model without involving the use of dealers. Tesla Experience centres are just a place where you can learn more about a Tesla, but you will have to place a booking online, and you will take delivery of the car when your stock has been allocated.

    Since Tesla does not work with any shareholding partners in any country that it operates in, the entry of Tesla into Malaysia could also mean that some concessions could have been made with certain requirements like franchise APs, which could have been granted as part of the BEV Global Leaders initiative.

    We first reported on the possibility of Tesla entering Malaysia last month when checks with SSM revealed that Tesla Services Sdn Bhd had been renamed to Tesla Sdn Bhd, with a revised nature of business spelling out specifically wholesale and retail of new motor vehicles, and maintenance and repair of motor vehicles. Tesla Sdn Bhd’s shareholding 100% belongs to Tesla International BV.

    Tesla Malaysia officially coming with car sales, service centre and superchargers – Tengku Zafrul

  • Is Tesla officially coming to Malaysia? Tesla Sdn Bhd gets ‘Services’ dropped from its name in Oct 2022

    Tesla Model 3 charging at a Gentari charger in Malaysia

    Tesla might be preparing to set up shop in Malaysia, as checks with SSM data has revealed that the Tesla Services Sdn Bhd subsidiary has undergone a name change in October 2022 to Tesla Sdn Bhd.

    Tesla used to have a Finance Shared Service Center in Penang to support the EMEA and APAC regions. The Tesla Services Sdn Bhd subsidiary, which has existed since May 2017, used to provide accounting and finance services to 25 countries. As a remote financial services centre, Tesla Services Sdn Bhd mainly employed accounting, finance and IT support personnel for this purpose.

    This subsidary is now known as Tesla Sdn Bhd, and the ‘nature of business’ now registered with SSM now spells out specifically wholesale and retail of new motor vehicles, other service activities incidental to land transportation, and maintenance and repair of motor vehicles. Essentially, a business intending to conduct full fledged motor vehicle 3S, no longer limited to accounting and finance.

    Tesla Sdn Bhd has a paid up capital of around RM3.6 million with 100% shareholding belonging to Tesla International BV. The company has four directors. One of them – a Mr David Jon Feinstein – has been previously identified as a director for both Tesla’s Thai and Indian subsidiaries.

    We last heard in May 2022 that Tesla was open to the idea of establishing a Supercharger DC charger network in Malaysia, which would be useful for official Tesla customers in Thailand and Singapore to use, but there was no mention of actually establishing an official sales and service presence here.

    With this fresh new activity surrounding the Tesla Sdn Bhd subsidiary, could this mean Malaysia will soon be an official sales market for Tesla?

    Is Tesla officially coming to Malaysia? Tesla Sdn Bhd gets ‘Services’ dropped from its name in Oct 2022

  • Tesla open to idea of establishing Supercharger network in Malaysia, willing to discuss further – MIDA

    Tesla open to idea of establishing Supercharger network in Malaysia, willing to discuss further – MIDA

    Earlier this week, prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri invited Tesla to look at Malaysia as a production hub for its EVs. While it remains to be seen if anything will actually come out of this, the American carmaker has indicated it is open to looking at having an official presence here, albeit not on a vehicular-related level.

    The angle being pursued is that of infrastructure development, according to Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) CEO Arham Abdul Rahman. In a tweet, he said he met Hasan Nazar, Tesla’s head of federal policy, in Washington to get a better idea of the company’s perspective and plans for expansion in the Asia-Pacific region.

    Reportedly, the company’s immediate interest is to set up fast charging stations in Malaysia, and it was willing to discuss further on this matter, Arham said in his tweet. He added that this is “in line with the market entry strategy as fast charging has been an area of concern within the EV ecosystem.”

    Tesla open to idea of establishing Supercharger network in Malaysia, willing to discuss further – MIDA

    The establishment of a Supercharger network would not just increase the number of DC fast charging points in the country, but also extend Tesla’s ability to provide its users in Singapore, where it is officially present, with access to rapid charging beyond the island republic. Users will of course have to pay for charging from the network, should it make its way here.

    Superchargers are available in Singapore, with the first V3 units – with CCS connectors – being installed last year. Capable of providing up to 250 kW of power, the unit slashes the average charging time down to just 15 minutes. At present, Tesla’s charging network consists of over 25,000 chargers at more than 2,700 locations around the world.

  • Tesla Model Y in Malaysia – now priced from RM346k

    Tesla Model Y in Malaysia – now priced from RM346k

    A price update on the Tesla Model Y that is being sold in Malaysia. The all-electric SUV, part of the Tesla range brought in by the Malay Vehicle Importers and Traders Association of Malaysia (PEKEMA), has had its price revised for 2022, with the starting price for it now lower than last year, as a result of a new avenue of importation as well as a new configuration.

    UPDATE: It turns out that the brochure sent on earlier by PEKEMA was not the latest one with a revamped pricing. The association has since forwarded its updated price list, which sees that for all Model Y versions being adjusted. The Standard Range RWD, originally reported with a price of RM329,800, is now RM345,800. Also, the LR AWD and Performance versions from HK were previously priced slightly lower than the UK versions, but this is no longer the case with the latest price adjustment. See below for updated prices.

    In its updated brochure for the year, the price of the Model Y now starts from RM345,800 (SST not included), brought in via Hong Kong. Last December, that of the Long Range all-wheel drive version of the SUV was listed as starting from RM417,528, but the price has now been revised to RM418,800 – this effectively reduces the entry price for the Y by RM73k.

    Tesla Model Y in Malaysia – now priced from RM346k

    The primary reason for the difference in pricing is because the particular version being brought in from HK in the photos is a Standard Range rear-wheel drive model, which has a range of up to 455 km (WLTP cycle) compared to the Long Range AWD’s 542 km. Performance specs for the base variant include a 0-100 km/time of 6.9 seconds and a 217 km/h top speed, the same as the dual-motor AWD.

    Also, as is the case with the HK version of the Model 3 rear-wheel drive, there’s a difference in specifications of its infotainment system, more specifically in the software available for it – like the Model 3, the HK Model Y follows China’s more restrictive regulations on specific apps that can or cannot be accessed through the screen, which means it has no on-board games or Internet browser.

    While the Model Y is available as in both seven- and five-seat layouts, the RWD from HK is a five-seat version, the only configuration available for the market, as are the units brought in from the UK. Meanwhile, the RWD example in these photos is on show at Vision Motorsports, which is located in Kampung Sungai Kayu Ara, Petaling Jaya.

    The introduction of the Standard Range RWD brings the total of Model Y versions offered by PEKEMA to five, and these are currently priced at:

    • Model Y Standard Range RWD (HK) – from RM345,800
    • Model Y Long Range AWD (HK) – from RM423,800
    • Model Y Long Range AWD (UK) – from RM418,800
    • Model Y Performance AWD (HK) – from RM486,900
    • Model Y Performance AWD (UK) – from RM481,900

    In terms of colours, PEKEMA states in its literature that white is a no-extra-cost shade for its Model Y, while opting for black, silver and deep blue will add on RM6,600 to the price, and red multi-coat takes this up to RM12,600. Also, there’s a 20-inch wheel option for the SUV, available for an additional RM12,600.

    As is the case with all Tesla units brought in by PEKEMA, the association states that cars are covered by the warranty as defined by Tesla – for example, Hong Kong lists a four-year warranty on the vehicle and eight years for the battery/drive unit. However, this will need to be claimed from the country of origin from which the car was sold, which would entail the vehicle having to be shipped back for major warranty claims.

  • 2022 Tesla Model 3 in Malaysia, priced from RM289k tax free – PEKEMA aims to sell 500 Tesla EVs per year

    2022 Tesla Model 3 in Malaysia, priced from RM289k tax free – PEKEMA aims to sell 500 Tesla EVs per year

    While Tesla vehicles aren’t officially sold in Malaysia, some of the models have previously been available for sale in the country, as shown by examples brought in by Vision Motorsports last year. These have very much been ad hoc, but now, in anticipation of the proposed EV tax exemptions announced by the government during Budget 2022, the Malay Vehicle Importers and Traders Association of Malaysia (PEKEMA) has announced that it has begun taking orders for Teslas on a much wider basis.

    The association has revealed a detailed listing of Tesla models that can be purchased through its network, as well as their indicative pricing, with tax exemptions in place. Potential buyers can pick from the entire range, with prices anticipated to start from RM288,888 for a Model 3. This is for a new unit brought in from Hong Kong.

    There’s another price mention of a Model 3 rear-wheel drive, with that starting from RM323,928. This is for a unit from the UK, and the reasoning for the price difference between both versions is due to a difference in infotainment specifications, or rather the software available – the HK unit follows China’s more restrictive regulations on specific apps that can or cannot be accessed through the screen, so there’s no on-board games or Internet browser.

    Click to enlarge.

    Meanwhile, the price of the Model 3 Long Range is expected to start from RM370,728. Comparatively, the single-motor Standard and dual-motor Long Range had prices starting from RM390k and RM450k respectively when they were brought in by Vision last year, so prices look like they are set to drop by quite a bit with the exemptions. For the same amount paid for a Long Range last year, buyers can now get a Model 3 Performance, with prices for it set to start from RM453,528.

    Elsewhere, pricing of the Model Y is expected to begin from RM417,528 for a Long Range, with the Performance going from RM489,528. As for the Model S, it starts from RM712,656 for a Basic, going up to RM878,256 for an S Plaid, while for the Model X, a Basic will start from RM817,128, while the X Plaid will go for RM950,328.

    All the cars that will be sold here are new units, according to PEKEMA VP Raja Petra Marudin. Speaking at the sidelines of the Bumiputera Development Action 2030 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre earlier today, he said nearly 40 units have been booked so far, and first deliveries of these vehicles are expected to begin from January.

    Click to enlarge.

    He added that all the cars are covered by the warranty as defined by Tesla – for example, Hong Kong lists a four-year warranty on the vehicle and eight years for the battery/drive unit. However, this will need to be claimed from the country of origin from which the car was sold, which would entail the vehicle having to be shipped back for major claims.

    He said the selling price of the vehicles have factored in the cost of transportation (if it needs to be shipped to Tesla Singapore or the country of origin of the car concerned) in cases where major problems develop, on a one-off or one-time basis.

    However, Raja Petra said this was unlikely to be needed. “Since 2019, when PEKEMA first brought in Tesla vehicles, we have never faced a big problem that has required such movement to be made. However, if necessary, PEKEMA can help and arrange it for customers,” he said.

    2022 Tesla Model 3 in Malaysia, priced from RM289k tax free – PEKEMA aims to sell 500 Tesla EVs per year

    He added that remote diagnosis services on the vehicle can also be done. “The system used by Tesla allows its cars to be diagnosed remotely for the purpose of detecting possible problems, and the report will be submitted to the customer,” he said.

    He explained that PEKEMA technicians undergo training at Tesla Singapore to prepare them in dealing with problems that customers may face, and it will be possible in some cases for these technicians to go to the customer’s home for the necessary minor repairs.

    “In simple language, customers do not have to worry after buying a Tesla model from us, because PEKEMA will help if they need after-sales support for the vehicle they own,” he said, adding that the association can also source out genuine Tesla spare parts for customers.

    2022 Tesla Model 3 in Malaysia, priced from RM289k tax free – PEKEMA aims to sell 500 Tesla EVs per year

    He said that PEKEMA can also assist its customers in the installation of a local telco provider’s SIM card (to enable OTA updates to the system), downloading and setting up Tesla applications for customers’ smartphones, performing map system updates and navigation for use in Malaysia (for units imported from the UK) as well as installing device and software upgrades for the systems used on their cars. However, all these will involve separate costs.

    He said that all Tesla customers will be able to enjoy DC fast charging facilities provided at PEKEMA member premises nationwide. There are currently seven such charging stations, and by the end of this year, the number is set to increase to 12.

    Raja Petra said that PEKEMA is aiming to sell 500 Teslas a year over the next two years of the EV tax exemption period. To that end, the company is also working to bring in Tesla units from other markets such as Australia and New Zealand. “We also hope the government will consider our application to bring in Tesla units through Tesla Singapore, which will further facilitate logistics for customers,” he said.

  • Tesla Model S long-term owner review: 3 years of driving, charging and living with an EV in Malaysia

    Tesla Model S long-term owner review: 3 years of driving, charging and living with an EV in Malaysia

    Electric vehicles or EVs are now trending in the motoring world with a number of automotive players venturing into it. In Malaysia, more and more models are being introduced. Nissan, Renault, BMW, MINI and Porsche have EV options in showrooms now, and they will soon be joined by Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and Volvo at the very least. There are also brands offered by grey importers such as Tesla and Polestar.

    In reality, EVs not only represent the pinnacle of automotive technology, but they also represent “the new way forward”, a “mindset symbol” and the “future mobility economy”.

    People are often curious about EVs. Being a former EV owner, people often ask me how the experience was, in every aspect possible. We don’t really ask these sort of questions when it comes to cars powered by internal combustion engines (ICE) unless if they are very special cars. Many also ask about the other key element of the EV world – charging infrastructure.

    Tesla Model S long-term owner review: 3 years of driving, charging and living with an EV in Malaysia

    While most of the technological, economic and government policy aspects have been covered on paultan.org, here, I would like to specifically talk about living with an EV for almost three years, and using it as a daily driver no less. I think that by sharing my experience, it will help answer the questions of those curious about EV ownership.

    Between early 2017 and 2019, we were among the first few in Malaysia to have a 2016 Tesla Model S 90D. It was mostly driven daily, shared between myself and Paul. Let’s start with the key specifications. This car, finished in Obsidian Black, was part of the GreenTech Malaysia leasing programme that was launched in 2016. It’s a 90D with a 90 kWh battery and two motors, one on each axle.

    Back then, the ‘D’ in the name was for dual-motor AWD variants (single motor RWD was also available), while those with a ‘P’ in front of the number (such as P100D) had higher performance. Our 90D was the top non-P model of its time. Today, Tesla uses a simpler naming scheme with Standard Range, Long Range and Performance, sometimes with a ‘+’ thrown in.

    The motors featured induction type technology, unlike the permanent-magnet synchronous motors used in the Porsche Taycan and newer Teslas like the Model 3 and the Plaid variant of today’s Model S.

    Dual motors provide all-wheel-drive, and 0-100 km/h acceleration took 4.4 seconds, on to a top speed of 250 km/h. This was made possible thanks to total power of 423 PS and 660 Nm of torque. The AWD system allowed for worry-free acceleration. It has a 400-volt battery pack and replenishing energy with a Type 2 charger with 11 kW of AC charging took over nine hours for a depleted battery.

    Type 2 is the socket convention that is widely used in Europe and Asia. The Model S can also be charged with a regular 2.4 kW household charger, but this would take about 24 hours. The Tesla can also take in 120 kW of DC charging, giving us 360 km of range from 42 minutes of charge time.

    Tesla Model S long-term owner review: 3 years of driving, charging and living with an EV in Malaysia

    Other specifications include a 450 km range, 19-inch wheels, air suspension and a full range of safety features such as automatic emergency braking (AEB), blind spot assist, electronic stability programme, HEPA air filters and so on. Our Model S also had the famous Autopilot feature, but we will get to that later.

    It also had geo-fencing or GPS-based suspension adjustment, which means that if you store a location where you would prefer the car to ride higher, say at a speed bump, the car will automatically raise its suspension at the same location the next time. This feature was quite useful, because in the standard setting, the ride height was a bit lower than other similar-sized cars. To give you some reference, this feature was only introduced to the Taycan in 2021.

    With the specs out of way, let’s get on with the experience bit. First up, the exterior design. I consider the Model S as one of the best looking sedans out there – hard to go wrong with a very sleek, aerodynamic silhouette. A perfect example of form and function working in harmony.

    Tesla Model S long-term owner review: 3 years of driving, charging and living with an EV in Malaysia

    The front end with the minimalist “grille” and stunning headlights was something that I was quite happy with; however, this only applies to our “facelift” model, which I think has a nicer front end than the original Model S. Of course, the hidden door handles are pretty cool too.

    My only complaint is the inconsistent gaps on the doors and trunks, which is a bit of an eyesore to those who are sensitive to such irregularities. Overall, a handsome looking car and a real head turner – the latter is also from the novelty of an EV, and the Tesla brand itself.

    Inside, the minimalist look continues as you’re greeted by the extremely large 17-inch centre control display. This particular unit had a black interior with an Alcantara headliner and Dark Ash wood trim. The interior is pleasing to the eye, once you get used to the portrait screen size. The centre control screen is the gateway to the Model S. Everything is controlled here, from the air con to the Easter egg features.

    The touchscreen performance is good; it feels almost like your regular iPad. It’s accurate and most importantly, fast, with no screen lag issues. The digital buttons are also rightly sized (not too much of a distraction while driving) and the screen arrangement can be adjusted to suit preferences.

    It is also through this system that I managed software updates, which are done over-the-air like a smartphone. The car would receive a notification for an update via an Internet connection (provided by a SIM card or WiFi connection) and I usually scheduled the updates overnight.

    I would wake up the next morning to new or enhanced features, and sometimes even a new user interface! The updates given by Tesla are more comprehensive than software updates in a regular car. It sometimes felt like I was getting a new car out of my existing one, if that makes sense.

    Tesla Model S long-term owner review: 3 years of driving, charging and living with an EV in Malaysia

    This system does not have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but it has a built-in Spotify client. Navigation is based on Google Maps. There’s a Tesla mobile app that allows remote control of basic features such as air con settings and the display of real time GPS location, among other things.

    It’s almost similar to BMW’s app, but there are two key differences. First, when you send a command with the app, the car gets the instruction in about three seconds. With the BMW/MINI app, the same thing takes close to 20 seconds. Secondly, the air con actually runs when you remotely turn it on, as opposed to just the blower in ICE cars.

    The instrument cluster acts like a display extension of the centre screen. Besides all the expected driving-related information such as speed, power consumption, remaining range, etc, it shows a digital version of the car and its surrounding traffic. For example, you will see a 3D visual of a truck or a motorcycle if there was one close enough to the Tesla. This part of the screen would also alert the driver if he’s about to hit an object ahead.

    There’s ample storage space, including two cupholders and a smaller cubby in the centre console, followed by a compartment large enough to swallow a mini handbag. There’s also a glovebox but no additional storage pockets on the door cards. Rear passengers get two cupholders in the foldable centre armrest.

    Ergonomics wise, it’s very decent, and to the standard of a Mercedes-Benz E-Class or BMW 5-Series, so no issues with longer journeys. There’s no floor tunnel in the rear, which is something very prominent in the German ICE saloons. Even the Porsche Taycan has the hump. While it’s no S-Class at the back, comfort is decent. Some taller folks did not like the sloping roofline, but it wasn’t an issue for me and my family. It’s the same for the Taycan, although I feel the Porsche’s cabin is a bit smaller. Rear view mirror coverage is also compromised.

    Speaking of Mercedes-Benz, some switchgear will be familiar to Merc owners. I spotted window control switches, indicator and the “transmission” stalk from the E-Class. While still on the topic of space, the rear luggage compartment is quite spacious, with capacity growing to 1,795 litres once the rear seats are dropped. I’ve even transported a two-metre tall floor lamp with this car before. Also, don’t forget the additional 150 litres of space in the front trunk a.k.a. frunk.

    Overall, the interior has a futuristic look while being practical, and the comfort is decent. My only qualm is the finishing quality. I find that the E-Class and 5 Series are better in this respect. An example is the interior door handles, which felt a little loose. The nice tactile feel you’d expect isn’t quite there.

    Now let’s talk about driving. On a full charge, the Model S provides 450 km of range and with that, I was able to use the car without charging for three to four days. My daily routine includes a 30 km drive to work, and another 30 km back. In between, there are drives to lunch and/or dinner, plus a fair bit of meetings all around the Klang Valley, even as far as Sepang.

    The Tesla’s range was very good for my lifestyle and not an ounce of range anxiety came into the picture. I grew the habit of spending a minute per day to plan my journey. With the mobile app – which showed me the remaining range in real time – and other apps like Google Maps, planning journeys is easy. In fact, trips within the Klang Valley didn’t actually require planning – it was more like giving a thought to where I was heading versus the range I had.

    Tesla Model S long-term owner review: 3 years of driving, charging and living with an EV in Malaysia

    I’m sure you are curious about the “real range”. The real answer is trust the screen, as what’s displayed there is very very close to the real range – if it says 100 km, the real range is almost there. Of course, it all depends on driving style and traffic conditions. If I drive with a gentle throttle, maintaining cruising speed of between 90 to 100 km/h, matching the range given by the system – or almost, at the very least – isn’t a problem. If you’re throttle-happy, the range depletes at a much faster rate.

    I attempted a Melaka weekend break to test out the Tesla’s long distance performance. I departed Shah Alam with 441 km of range and arrived in Melaka with 300 km on the screen. This meant that the range used was almost similar to the actual distance. I did keep my speed at around 100 km/h and was very light-footed when accelerating, though.

    I used up about 90 km of range in Melaka over three days and I did not charge the car at all during the trip. Reached home with 65 km remaining – not bad at all.

    Tesla Model S long-term owner review: 3 years of driving, charging and living with an EV in Malaysia

    As for charging, I fully relied on the home charger that came with the lease and charged the car overnight every three to four days. For my routine, I had no need for public chargers. However, it was different for Paul, who did not have the charger installed in his house. He had to rely on public chargers and his home’s regular three-pin socket, which can provide 2.4 kW max.

    That may sound troublesome, but based on his lifestyle, Paul didn’t need to go out of his way to juice the Tesla. He would charge the car if the location had a charger, and many places have charging bays these days. For him, two of the most frequent charging locations were Jaya One in Petaling Jaya, where our office used to be, and Empire Subang on the weekends.

    However, using public chargers has its own set of challenges. First, you have non-EV drivers using charging spots as a parking lot, and then there are plug-in hybrid and EV drivers leaving their cars there long after charging is complete – I really hope that this will improve over time. By the way, we also tried charging the Model S using a 50 kW DC charger by ABB in Sunway; the fast charger giving us 240 km of range in one hour.

    So, based on the range that EVs can offer today (MINI Electric aside, most have over 250 km), as well as the fact that every buyer would be given a home charger, plus Malaysia’s growing charging network (there are now over 300 chargers), it makes absolute sense to own an electric car. If you travel across states frequently, then you might want to assess the range and available charging points. Even so, it is getting easier to own and live with one.

    Charging is more convenient if you live in a landed home with a porch, but if you live in a high-rise building, Paul’s approach might work for you – again, depending on the range and charging point assessment.

    As for the driving experience, the Model S is a very quick car. Zero to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds is no ordinary feat for such a big car, and it was fun to scare my passengers occasionally. However, due to the technology limitations at that time (induction motors), the Model S would run out of breath if you did multiple back to back acceleration tests. Today, the Model 3 and Taycan are able to sustain power over multiple pedal-to-metal attempts. But then again, who would need to accelerate that many times in a real world setting?

    Tesla Model S long-term owner review: 3 years of driving, charging and living with an EV in Malaysia

    The Model S is a reasonably comfortable car. In town, it takes on regular road irregularities well enough and is not overly stiff. But when you drive faster, especially over corners and on bumpy highways, it becomes clear that the Tesla is not really a driver’s car.

    It’s floaty during high speed driving and steering input isn’t very precise. It’s still a nice car to drive, but compared to the Taycan or even a regular 5 Series, the Model S would stay in third. However, it might be different now with the Model S Plaid, a regular visitor to the Nurburgring and Laguna Seca for ride and handling tests.

    The Tesla Model S is well known for its Autopilot feature, which is still in beta mode. Back in the day, this feature revolutionised the autonomous driving scene. Basically, the Model S can drive itself from point A to B, with the help of an army of sensors all over the car. However, for our unit – an official Hong Kong unit brought in by Greentech – Autopilot was disabled and we were not able to sample it; the same goes for the auto steering feature which uses road markers to help steer the car.

    I did manage to activate the automatic steering function once when I performed a safe soft reset while driving (yes, the car still drove like normal) and it worked as advertised, just like other features like AEB and dynamic cruise control with traffic stop and go. By the way, despite the advanced-sounding Autopilot branding, Tesla essentially uses a Level 2 autonomous system, just like many mainstream carmakers.

    Over three years, the Model S clocked 54,120 km in our hands. The interesting bit is that it never once required servicing, not even for new brake pads or suspension parts. I did expect – with fewer moving parts, fluids, lubrication and almost zero vibration – that wear and tear would be less compared to an ICE car, but to have a fully care-free experience was truly unexpected. For the brake pads, the energy regeneration system helped reduce wear.

    Overall, we had only two issues with the car over the lease period. The LED daytime running lights had to be replaced, and the driver’s side exterior door handle failed to slide out, which meant that we had to crawl in from the passenger door for a week while waiting for parts.

    A note on battery life. Just like our phones, battery life depletes over time, and you would expect the same with an EV. When we first had the car, a full charge would give me 450 km of range (as displayed on the screen). Towards the end of the three-year period, the system showed 420 km after a full charge. That’s a 30 km range reduction in three years, or an average of about 2.5% per year. That’s an acceptable figure to me.

    As for costs, the lease covered both insurance and road tax, which by the way was just RM10 per year. This special rate continues for Teslas under the Greentech leasing scheme, but private owners of EVs will have to pay road tax that’s many multiples higher under today’s motor kilowatt output-based road tax scale for EVs.

    Running cost isn’t paid to the petrol station, but Tenaga Nasional. A full charge at home consumes 90 kWh, and I charge about 10 times a month. Multiply that with the 57 sen TNB charges for the highest tier in the domestic tariff (901 kWh onwards), and it’s RM513 per month. To access ChargEV public chargers, we signed up for the membership card – at RM240 per year for unlimited charging (no per minute or kWh charges), it’s great value.

    Tesla Model S long-term owner review: 3 years of driving, charging and living with an EV in Malaysia

    In conclusion, driving an EV is a brand new experience with lots of positive points. If you live and work in the Klang Valley and have a home charger, you’re good to go. Yes, driving from Johor to Perlis will not be a straightforward affair, but it’s possible if you change your approach.

    You can use apps such as Plug Share to help locate charging points. When you consider government and private initiatives such as the Porsche Asia Pacific-Shell programme, which will be adding up to 12 chargers along the PLUS North South Highway, living with an EV will only get easier.

    Finally, is the Tesla Model S a good EV? Yes, it is. Tesla models like the Model S, Model 3 and Model X are available through grey importers right now, and you can have a Model 3 SR for as low as RM390k. If you’re considering a Tesla and have any other questions about ownership of Teslas or any other electric car in general, please leave a comment and we will try our best to answer.

  • GALLERY: Tesla Model 3 in Malaysia – single-motor Standard, RM390k; dual-motor Long Range, RM450k

    GALLERY: Tesla Model 3 in Malaysia – single-motor Standard, RM390k; dual-motor Long Range, RM450k

    Much of the attention at Vision Motorsports’ showroom last week was undoubtedly on the Polestar 2, but the company also had a couple of other display examples worth mentioning about, in this case a pair of Tesla Model 3s.

    Unlike the Polestar, these can be sold, and they have already been accounted for. The two right-hand drive units, a Standard Range and Long Range, are new units that have been shipped in from the UK, and it would seem that the lack of direct support hasn’t deterred buyers from snapping up the cars.

    They’re not one-offs, because Vision says that those interested in getting a Model 3 can do so through the company, and the wait time for one is about eight weeks. In terms of pricing, the Standard retails for RM390k, while the Long Range goes for around RM450k. The company adds that the Long Range Performance variant can be brought in, depending on demand.

    To recap, the Standard Range Model 3 has a single-motor powertrain driving the rear wheels. Outputs are 283 hp (211 kW) and 450 Nm, good enough to get the car from standstill to 100 km/h in 5.6 seconds and a top speed of 209 km/h. It’s equipped with a 50 kWh battery, which is capable of giving the car an operating range of 354 km (EPA), or 381 km on a WLTP cycle.

    The Long Range, meanwhile, has a dual-motor system and all-wheel drive (there is no more rear-wheel drive option for the LR), with 346 hp (258 kW) and 510 Nm for output numbers. As its moniker suggests, the version gets a uprated 75 kWh battery, which increases operating range to 568 km (EPA), or 580 km on a WLTP cycle. Performance numbers for the AWD include a 0-100 km/h time of 4.4 seconds and a 233 km/h top speed.

    Kit includes a centrally-mounted, landscape-oriented 15-inch touchscreen in a cleanly presented interior, a keyless NFC keycard (you can also use your smartphone as a key) and 18-inch Aero design wheels. Under all that skin, a tech array that includes eight cameras, 160 metre long-range forward radar and 12 ultrasonic sensors help provide advanced levels of driver assistance.

    GALLERY: Tesla Model 3 in Malaysia – single-motor Standard, RM390k; dual-motor Long Range, RM450k

    GALLERY: Tesla Model 3 Standard Range

    GALLERY: Tesla Model 3 AWD Long Range


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