We’re used to the growl of engines travelling our national highways. But soon that roar could soften to a gentler hum. The advent of electric vehicles(EV) is generating a revolution in transport across the globe, and that revolution is about to electrify Malaysia.
EV sales are expected to rise from a record 700,000 in 2016, to reach 3 million by 2021.
Global predictions estimate that electric cars could be as cheap as gas-driven models by as early as 2025, and their sales could eclipse internal combustion sales globally by 2038. In this newly electrified transport market, EV sales are expected to rise from a record 700,000 in 2016, to reach 3 million by 2021. When it comes to cars though, acceleration can be a key indicator, and by 2040, that adoption will accelerate to over 500 million electric cars on roads around the world. So where is Malaysia in this electrifying revolution?
Malaysia’s emerging EV landscape
Malaysia’s ambitions for an increasingly electrified transport network are laid out in the National Electric Mobility Blueprint. The Blueprint highlights the goals to support the efficient use of energy in transport, while improving energy security and reducing pollution. The reality of those benefits might be greater than many think. With the equivalent of one barrel of oil, the average petrol car would travel a seemingly impressive 2,199 KM. That’s roughly KL to Yangon. But a comparable electric vehicle could carry that journey another 2,000 KM on the same energy, roughly as far as Dhaka, Bangladesh. That’s smarter use of energy, for a smarter transport ecosystem.
The nation is already showing green shoots of a sustainable transport revolution. BMW Group Malaysia announced this year that the country is the leading purchaser by share of sales of their hybrid vehicle models, a combined system which utilises both internal combustion and electric power elements. But the success of the EV revolution requires power and reliability.
Malaysia aims to be the EV hub for Southeast Asia, utilising extensive automotive expertise and an innovative environment to support this increasingly important market. That goal sets out the target to support adoption of over 200,000 EVs by 2020, up from a figure estimated in the hundreds today. A key part of that success will be the implementation of charging stations to keep these cars running smoothly on Malaysia’s roads.
Power players in Malaysia are already queuing up to play their part in supporting this future. The recent tripartite agreement between TNBES, PetDag, and GreenTech Malaysia will see the further installation of 100 ChargeEV stations across the nation by 2018. This supports GreenTech Malaysia’s goal of achieving 1,000 charging stations by the end of 2017. The wider ambition for support of EV adoption in the country sees Malaysia aiming to reach 125,000 charging stations by 2020.
EVs still have a road to travel
Of course EVs might be cleaner alternatives to fossil fuel vehicles, but that doesn’t mean they come without their own challenges. Electricity demands of EVs are predicted to reach 1,800 terawatt hours by 2040, that’s 5% of total global energy demand, approximately a 30,000% rise in demand generated from electric vehicles in 2016!
Equally vital to ensuring the greatest benefits of EVs are realised will be the support of a reliable, sustainable power ecosystem.
Like many emerging technologies, time is likely to play in favour of electric vehicles. As technologies become more widespread, the cost of construction will fall, and adoption is sure to rise. Supporting that adoption with key EV infrastructure is an important part that governments and power industry stakeholders must work together to deliver, and one supported by ambitious goals in Malaysia to introduce greater numbers of charging points in coming years.
Equally vital to ensuring the greatest benefits of EVs are realised will be the support of a reliable, sustainable power ecosystem. Ensuring reliable power to keep EVs running is a key part of the puzzle. Building a balanced electricity ecosystem that delivers low carbon, sustainable power means that for every electric vehicle on the road, the environmental benefits will be amplified.
We’re on the road to a greener transport system going forward, and the cars that share the tarmac with us will increasingly be powered by electricity. Malaysia is emerging into the EV revolution, and it looks like everyone is working to keep that revolution charged.