Electric vehicle (EV) industry trends in Malaysia for 2024

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[Written in partnership with ChargeSini, but the editorial team had full control over the content.]

Last year, the Malaysian electric vehicle (EV) industry scored a win in the form of the entry of major players such as Tesla and BYD.

Moreover, EV adoption has been growing year-on-year, rising to 7,500 units sold in the first nine months of 2023 alone. The total units of EVs sold from 2019 to 2021 was just 300 units, mind you.

With all this in mind, increased EV adoption is something that we predict will continue substantially in 2024.

But don’t just take it from us—ChargeSini believes the same. ChargeSini is a local EV charging point operator (CPO) with a total of 596 charging points across 193 locations.

As we settle into the new year, we wanted to get more insights from local players like ChargeSini on what we can expect from Malaysia’s growing EV sector. 

Despite the promising growth, though, there are unique challenges that Malaysia’s EV market faces.

Image Credit: ChargeSini

One main challenge, ChargeSini pointed out, is the oil subsidies in Malaysia.

“Malaysia offers some of the cheapest oil in the world to its citizens, where locals can pump for just RM2.05/litre,” the team told us. “In 2022, the Malaysian government bore a hefty subsidy of over RM80 billion for RON95 petrol, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and electricity.”

These sorts of subsidies may stand in the way of EV’s growth. But, this may also present an opportunity for the industry, which leads us to ChargeSini’s first prediction for the EV industry in this year.

1. Reduced expenditure on oil subsidies

As mentioned, the Malaysian government has spent quite a lot on oil subsidies over the years. For 2024’s Budget, it’s stated that subsidies for diesel fuel will be rolled out in phases.

One way the government can reduce its spending on these subsidies is by promoting the use of EVs, which is of course a win for startups in the industry like ChargeSini.

“This potential policy shift could further improve the prospects of the EV market in Malaysia, making it an exciting space to watch in the coming years,” ChargeSini said.

2. Lowered EV prices

Last year, updates on Proton and Perodua’s planned local assembly of EV cars were released.

In August 2023, The Edge reported that Perodua was planning for the local assembly of its EV cars. Its president and CEO Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin Ahmad had said that the company is “looking at a variety of ways to introduce EVs to the mass market”.

On top of that, he said a goal is to make them affordable for most Malaysians.

We know that lowering the cost of EVs is a key factor that can help increase EV adoption, so Perodua’s foray into the scene is definitely something exciting for the landscape.

Leveraging part-owner Geely’s knowledge, Proton’s EV initiative is also underway, with reports stating that its new EV model can be launched as early as 2025.

Image Credit: ChargeSini

These local players’ push into EVs may help encourage more confidence in the sector amongst Malaysians.

3. More EV options to foster more demand

ChargeSini shared that in 2024, there will be more globally recognised EV models (such as BMW i5, BYD Seal, and MG ZS EV) entering the Malaysian market.

These increased options for consumers will in turn foster healthy competition, contributing to the diversification of the EV portfolio in Malaysia.

“At ChargeSini, we view these developments as positive catalysts for the EV industry’s growth,” the team said.

“The availability of diverse and competitively priced EV models, combined with our commitment to an extensive and accessible charging infrastructure, creates a synergistic ecosystem that encourages wider EV adoption in Malaysia.”

4. Increased charging options in commercial areas

Of course, with increased EV adoption, there’ll also come a wider network of charging points.

For ChargeSini specifically, they shared that they have been continuously establishing a comprehensive and easily accessible charging network across Malaysia.

Image Credit: ChargeSini

For 2024 in particular, the startup has strategically partnered with various hypermarkets to position its charging points.

They teased, “Look forward to encountering ChargeSini’s DC Fast Charge stations at 28 Mydin Hypermarket outlets, AEON Big, Target Hypermarket, Today’s Market, and 59 Lotus’s Hypermarket locations throughout Malaysia.” 

Clearly, a primary focus of theirs this year will be on commercial areas. That said, ChargeSini is also committed to enhancing the charging infrastructure in residential condominiums, collaborating with local city councils to provide value-added facilities.

This could be something that we see more service providers doing in the near future too.

5. Increased global recognition of Malaysia’s EV industry

Tesla’s entry into Malaysia last year has been monumental in helping put our nation on the map when it comes to EVs. After all, it was a part of the government’s push to make Malaysia a regional hub for the EV industry.

Image Credit: Tesla Experience Centre Cyberjaya

While global companies like Tesla are planting roots in Malaysia, homegrown companies may also be looking to make their presence known abroad.

For one, Nikkei Asia reported in October 2023 that Proton was looking to set up an EV factory in Thailand.

Meanwhile, startups like ChargeSini are also expanding beyond Malaysian borders.

Starting the year off with a bang, ChargeSini is inaugurating its initial charging stations in Medan, Indonesia this month, marking the commencement of its journey into the Southeast Asian region.

6. Increased clarity on local regulations

This one is perhaps both a prediction as well as a hope.

Explaining the regulatory landscape in Malaysia, the ChargeSini team shared their concerns over the inspection and SOP guidelines set by Bomba for charging station operations with us.

“While a two-year grace period has been provided, we have encountered challenges due to the lack of clarity in these guidelines. The uncertainty has prompted concerns from our clients, impacting the seamless deployment of EV charging stations on their premises,” they said.

As the industry matures and develops, though, processes are bound to become more streamlined.

And with more streamlined and clearer processes, players in Malaysia’s EV ecosystem, from CPOs like ChargeSini to manufacturers like Proton and Perodua, may stand a better chance to go up against the global giants. 

  • Learn more about ChargeSini here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about electric vehicles here.

Featured Image Credit: ChargeSini

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