Tengku Zafrul: Tesla will make Malaysia’s EV ecosystem more competitive

KUALA LUMPUR: The opening of Tesla Inc’s first charging station in Malaysia will make the local automotive ecosystem more competitive and help signal to the global market that the country is serious about developing the electric vehicle (EV) industry, said Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI) Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz

Tengku Zafrul said that since the EV industry is relatively new in Malaysia, many investors, both local and foreign, are still waiting for ‘certainty’ in the market before making any investment decisions.

He believes the opening of Tesla’s charging station will help instill confidence in EV investors who will not only be keen to invest in charging facilities but also participate in the entire supply chain.

“We are, in a way, liberalizing the industry, and we have to push. We want to make sure the regulations are clear.

“They also want to know how fast the cars are coming in. So for people investing in charging (stations), they want to see us open as well. Tesla is setting a good example by installing charging stations first,” he told Bernama.

On Wednesday, July 19, Tengku Zafrul launched Tesla’s supercharging station at the Pavilion in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, the first EV charging station of the car giant in the country, which plans to build at least 50 charging stations nationwide.

The minister said nine charging station locations have been identified, including in Bukit Jalil, Petaling Jaya and Dengkil, while outside the Klang Valley are in Ipoh, Perak; Perai, Penang; Seremban, Negeri Sembilan; and Iskandar Puteri, Johor, while the other two will be announced soon.

He said that in the initial phase, the locations of charging stations are focused on big cities but not limited to shopping malls as Tesla also plans to have outdoor charging stations.

Creating an economic spillover

Tengku Zafrul said that many Malaysian companies are involved in the supply chain of the construction of the Tesla charging station, which is in line with the government’s hope to create a significant spillover effect on the people and the economy as a whole.

“Malaysia has a strong electrical and electronics (E&E) ecosystem that has been built over the past 50 years, especially in the semiconductor business, which is a key component in the production of EV vehicles.

“It’s good to see Malaysian companies supporting not only Tesla but the entire industry,” he said, reiterating that the government is committed to speeding up approvals for infrastructure development to match the world-class standard of three months.

Commenting on the equilibrium in the local EV market, Tengku Zafrul said that while the number of EV charging stations in the county shows an uptrend, the demand and supply of EV cars will follow.

“Therefore, the investors in the charging facility can break even faster,” he pointed out.

Citing a survey of charging facility companies, Tengku Zafrul said the breakeven in investing in charging stations, based on the current environment, could be two to three years.

The government aims to have 10,000 EV charging stations nationwide by 2025, consisting of 9,000 units of the alternating current (AC) type and 1,000 units of the direct current (DC) type.

To date, more than 1,000 EV charging stations have been installed.

Tengku Zafrul further said that the mass electrification of the automotive sector and the Malaysian manufacturing industry fits into the environmental, social, and governance net-zero agenda of Malaysia and the region.

Malaysia targets to have 15 percent of total industry volume (TIV) contributed by EV and hybrid vehicles by 2030 and 38 percent of TIV by 2040. – Bernama

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