Perodua working on localising EV manufacturing – key components like batteries must be made in Malaysia

With electric vehicles being the talk of the automotive industry, Perodua has given its input on the matter during its recent outlook media conference. First and foremost, the carmaker has no immediate plans to launch an EV yet, but it will ensure the groundwork is in place should the time come.

One of the key activities that Perodua has planned for this year is to initiate a new project focused on xEV take-off. It’s important to note that the term ‘xEV’ refers to electrified vehicles that covers not just battery electric vehicles (BEV), but also vehicles with plug-in hybrid (PHEV), hybrid (HEV) and hydrogen fuel cell powertrains (FCEV).

As mentioned in an earlier post, Perodua will first focus on hybrid cars, so it’ll be a while before the company launches an EV. While no timeline was provided, the carmaker will ensure preparations are in place for both EVs and HEVs, and it all starts at the vendor level. It also added that efforts must also be made to promote the use of renewable energy as a more holistic approach to carbon neutrality.

“I didn’t mention when we will introduce an EV, but if you notice from my slides, the preparation is at the vendor system. What I’m trying to say is that if we introduce an EV, we must make sure localisation is finalised,” said Perodua president and CEO Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin Ahmad.

“Out of the three main components (of an EV), which are the battery, inverter and motor, one must be localised because we are Perodua, and because we want to develop the local industry. If you notice, I hinted in my slides that the preparation is at our vendors,” he added.

Zainal also said Perodua will conduct promotional activities to bring in vendors of EV technology into the country so they can work with local vendors. This would help arm Malaysian vendors with the capability and capacity to produce components for EVs, which would make it easier for the carmaker to plan for an EV product.

It’s still early days into this initiative, and the carmaker said it will possibly share more details this year. In any case, it want vendors in Malaysia to take up the challenge to localise batteries, inverters or motors, or all three if possible.

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“Hopefully, I really wish that they (vendors) can do that because if we want to produce EVs, we must make sure the production can cater to that. So, space management is one of the preparations required for us to produce that (EVs),” said Zainal, who pointed out the need to ensure its plants need to be readied for EV production.

When asked which of the three main EV components is most important when it comes to localisation, Zainal said the battery is the best bet. “If we were to do an EV, we have to decide whether we will do a full model EV or a conversion model. For example, if we take the Axia and I want to convert it, if we do a conversion model, the limitation is the battery because we have to make sure the platform can fit the battery packaging system that they have,” he explained.

“If you ask me what is the best out of the three (EV components to localise), I think the battery is the best to localise. So, if we are able to do that, then if we want to do a conversion model, it would be easier for us and at less investment compared to a new model development,” he continued.

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