• Madani Sahari

EEV production hub will revitalise automotive industry

Strategic direction mooted by the NAP 2014 has since popularised the term “Energy Efficient Vehicle, or EEV, amongst Malaysian policy makers, legislators, business community and the public at large.

A foresight to create Malaysia as the EEV production hub for the region is an initiative to revitalise the existing 30 years longstanding local automotive industry into shaping a better automotive manufacturing and related businesses in the country now and into the future.

In management term is to create a new “S-curve” for the industry. EEVs are vehicles able to fulfil two essential criteria, namely; low or none emission propulsion satisfying the environmental greening initiatives and low energy consumption for a set distance travelled.

Henceforth EEVs production shall demand high level of product technology, skilled and knowledge manpower, extensive R&D initiatives, more sophisticated production engineering, materials and processes.

Vehicles associated with EEVs are mainly efficient internal combustion engines (ICE), Hybrid electric vehicle (HEV), Plug-in Hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) and full electric vehicle (EV. Equally recognised as EEVs are those vehicles propelled by other energy sources such as; Compressed Natural Gas, Liquefied Petroleum Gas, Biodiesel, Ethanol, Hydrogen and Fuel Cell.

The internal combustion engines shall be qualified as an EEV having achieve lowest possible emission of harmful gaseous and better mileage gain per unit fuel used, both meeting the stipulated EEV qualifications. A similar rules are applied to HEV and PHEV.

On the other hand, being a completely non emission vehicle EV shall on qualifying as an EEV its electrical energy consumption per unit travel shall account for the CO2 emissions during the electricity generation process. Therefore, an EV by this definition is not completely carbon emission free given that most electricity generation is largely using coal and fossil fuels.

Malaysia, being a member of the United Nations “Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP 29)”, currently adopts UNECE R101 to qualify all EEVs including EVs.

Since its inception NAP 2014 has produced some interesting outcome, in particular the interest shown in EEV production investments by the OEMs. Some total of RM11.5 billion in the manufacturing sector to produce EEVs has been approved up to the end of 2015. On the same token a total of RM2.6 billion has been invested in EEV related activities in the aftermarket sector. Some total of RM7.6 billion of the approved investment for EEV production has been realised to date with the expected full investment to be finalised by 2018.

The investment is expected to increase the local vehicles manufacturing capacity from 600,000 units to 923,000 unit per year by 2018 with the involvement of eight vehicle OEMs.

Domestic EEV sales in 2015 stood at 32.5 per cent of the overall vehicle sales, a marked increase from that were sold in 2014, which was 15 per cent of the total vehicles sales for the year.

Internal combustion engine EEV usage would be futile without the availability of quality fuel in the marketplace. In support of the EEV initiatives, the petrol RON 97 fuel with Euro 4 standard has been introduced throughout the country beginning September 2015. Meanwhile Euro 5 diesel was introduced earlier in 2014 with more than 50 petrol stations now operating throughout the country supplying to diesel propulsion EEVs.

In the meantime effort towards establishing battery manufacturing for EVs in the local scene is under feasibility study by industry experts. Plans are underway for local production of lithium powder, battery cells and battery assembly pack useful for the production of lithium based batteries expected to commence by 2nd quarter 2017.

Rapid development in many aspects of EEV ventures in the local scene is foreseen to change the mobility landscape of the Malaysian society not in a very far future.

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