Malaysia is the only nation in Southeast Asia with all of its domestic electric vehicle (EV) stakeholders gathered within its borders, from upstream to downstream. The country’s budget for 2022 indicates that it has enough of money, but what is most concerning is that it does not have plans for EV manufacture, including batteries, EVs, or even charging infrastructure.
Malaysia, a growing country with 32.7 million people, is falling behind other regional economies like Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, and Vietnam in terms of EV development as a result of the Malaysian government’s lack of clear, well-defined, practical policies and goals. However, concerns regarding Malaysia’s EV development’s prospects continue.
NMB CEO Dr. Rezal Khairi bin Ahmad stated in an interview with NanoMalaysia Berhad (NMB), Malaysia’s leading organization for the commercialization and industrial development of nanotechnology: “The Malaysian EV market would accept imported cars thanks to a tax exemption. That was a good move, but I think it wasn’t enough. NMB noticed a gap. The nation had the potential to thrive economically, but lacked the EV ecosystem needed to make that happen. This is the reason we made the decision to join the EV revolution.”
Malaysia adopts a very different strategy.
NMB has been launching numerous ambitious plans to assume the leadership role in EV development in response to the Malaysian government’s call. Inviting NMB to join the EV task group run by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MITI) is a joy, according to Rezal.
The race for a global EV marketplace is on, he continued, and Malaysia needs to change its strategy if it wants to keep up.
How so? wondered DIGITIMES Asia.
While Vietnam has its own domestic EV manufacturer, VinFast, Thailand and Indonesia have both been looking for global EV manufacturers to make completely knocked-down (CKD) versions of their EV models.
In contrast to its ASEAN counterparts, Malaysia is preparing to take a bigger share in the production of essential EV parts. The nation is on track to establish itself as a leading exporter of EV parts in the area.
Initiatives from NMB include NESTI, EMERGE, and CLEVER
The NanoMalaysia Energy Storage Technology Initiative is one of them (NESTI)
The 12th Malaysian Plan, Malaysia’s national economic policy, includes the NESTI program as a key component. It aims to provide advantages to Malaysians across the nation in the form of enhanced economic growth and more employment opportunities.
The NESTI program, in particular, promotes the development and commercialization of energy storage technologies, such as batteries, ultracapacitors, hydrogen storage and reactors, battery management systems (BMS), and battery recycling, for use in electric mobility (i.e., second-life battery and end-of-life battery).
With a group of Korean-based automakers in the ASEAN area, including Hyundai Kefico, Tham, Curo, Hyundai Electric and Energy Systems, Daegu Mechatronics and Materials Institute (DMI), and Signet EV, NMB inked a memorandum of arrangement (MoA) in December 2021. The collaboration’s participants reached a consensus that satisfies everyone’s needs.
The members with a basis in Korea are specifically providing Malaysia with a complete solution for an EV micro-mobility ecosystem. Their EV-related goods can then incorporate Malaysian EV solutions including energy storage, battery management systems, and controller components.
To enhance the BMS and broaden its EV offering from two-wheelers to four-wheelers, NMB is collaborating with Eclimo, a business that produces electric two-wheelers, on a local level.
2. The Green Economy’s Enabling Mobility Electrification (EMERGE)
On the other hand, the EMERGE program seeks to advance the development of EV technology through the Nano Technology Commercialization program to enhance energy storage and management systems, the Internet of NanoThings (IoNT), the creation of off-grid green charging stations, as well as the development of EV prototypes.
The Rapid Electric Vehicles Innovation Validation Ecosystem (REVIVE), which was established to concentrate on the conversion of internal combustion engines (ICE) to electric engines, is one of the efforts within EMERGE. “In several Southeast Asian nations, the practice of engine conversion is already permitted. Malaysia, meanwhile, continues to lag behind “said Rezal.
“Because this initiative doesn’t directly compete with other imported automobiles, either totally built-up or completely knocked-down cars, NMB is driving REVIVE as part of the EV game plan in Malaysia. And for those who believe they cannot afford to purchase an EV, they may just convert their current ICE vehicles to an EV and participate in this environmental, social, and governance (ESG) effort “He clarified.
As a result of this endeavor, DIGITIMES Asia predicts that the overall cost of owning an EV will soon match that of an ICE vehicle. To NMB’s complete credit, this affordable alternative to purchasing brand-new EVs facilitates widespread adoption. This is advantageous for Malaysia’s long-term goals and moves the nation closer to net-zero territory.
3. Local Electric Vehicle Expeditious Roll-Out Campuses (CLEVER)
However, as EV use increases, the charging issue will worsen. According to Datuk Ahmad Amzad Hashim, deputy minister of science, technology, and innovation (MOSTI), there are only about 1,000 public EV charging outlets in all of Malaysia.
The CLEVER program serves as a safe haven for businesses and innovators in need of a controlled setting to test out new ideas. It also serves as the regulatory sandbox. The National Automotive Policy 2020, which seeks to build 5,000 EV charging stations to strengthen infrastructure support, is likewise in line with this.
Students from EduCity Iskandar, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, and Universiti Tenaga Nasional have the opportunity to deploy, develop, and test homegrown EV technologies like electric two-wheelers, BMS, removable battery slots, intelligent battery management, electromagnetic compatibility, and electromagnetic immunity on the grounds of the participating educational institutions.
NMB Initiatives, in short, has been one of the leading proponents of taking action to address all EV-related issues in Malaysia.
NMB is addressing two major EV battery limitations: LFP and how environmentally friendly an EV battery can be.
“Compared to NMCs, LFP offers additional safety features. However, there is a cost associated with performance. I believe that consumers prefer safety over performance because Tesla cars frequently catch fire. However, LFP as a whole isn’t far behind “said Rezal.
Lithium iron phosphate is used as the cathode ingredient in LFP batteries. In addition to being widely distributed, iron phosphate is also relatively simple to make. Phosphate may also be generated in Malaysia using the water leaking process (WLP), which makes it even more desirable for use. “This chance came about as a result of the legislative changes. We may benefit from this circumstance by establishing a circular economy.”
Further, “By obtaining more electrons and charge per unit area, we intend to improve efficiency using NMB’s cutting-edge electrode technology. This gives us the chance to enhance LFP performance in conjunction with solid baseline technology.”
Second, NMB will switch from using lithium as the cathode material to using aluminum.