Mercedes awaits clarity on EV plans

The company is seeking a balance between market demand and policy requirements


MERCEDES-BENZ Malaysia Sdn Bhd (MBM) is awaiting clarity on the country’s electric vehicle (EV) strategy under the National Automotive Policy (NAP) 2019, to further boost sales and investment in the segment.

President and CEO Dr Claus Weidner (picture) emphasised the company’s support for Malaysia’s EV push and commitment to contribute to the technology’s development.

“We want to bring our newest technology to Malaysia as soon as possible. We have had discussions and showed what we have, and they have to decide how they want to structure the automotive policy and we’ll take it from there,” he told The Malaysian Reserve in an interview recently.

Weidner said MBM is seeking a balance between market demand and policy requirements to achieve the right positioning for its portfolio in the local automotive market, including in the EV and hybrid segments.

After suffering two rounds of delay, the NAP 2019 is expected to be introduced in the next few months.

A consultative paper on the framework contains provisions on mobility-as-a-service, Industrial Revolution 4.0 and next-generation vehicle — which is defined as energy-efficient vehicle (EEV) and achieves at least Level 3 automation (conditional automation).

Recently, MBM stepped up its EV game in the region with the South-East Asia premiere of Mercedes-Benz all-electric vehicle, the SUV EQC.

The EQC 400 4MATIC is predicted to be available in retail next year.

It can go up to 450km in a full-electric mode, powered by an 80kWh battery and can accelerate from zero to 100kph in 5.1 seconds, with a top speed of 180kph.

Under its electric intelligence brand, the EQ — the premium German marquee — also launched the first S-Class plug-in hybrid in Malaysia, the S560e, and introduced a new EQ entry variant, the C300e.

Globally, Mercedes-Benz principal Daimler AG is rolling out over 10 all-EVs to the market by 2022 to electrify its entire portfolio to have at least one electric alternative in every model series — taking the total to 50.

At present, Daimler is taking a new overarching business strategy to reinvent mobility under the keyword “CASE” (connected; autonomous; shared and services; and electric) on the back of global transition to a new revolutionised transport solution.

In Malaysia, MBM had introduced its maiden locally assembled hybrids, which are the S400L Hybrid in 2014, the E300 BlueTEC Hybrid in 2015 and the C350e and E350e last year.

MBM has two EQ charging stations in Malaysia — The Waterfront in Desa ParkCity and Pavilion Kuala Lumpur — with six bays, plus several charging facilities owned by its dealer network.

Industry observers viewed that EEV-related investment in Malaysia has not been growing as fast as neighbouring countries, partly dampened by the absence of non-standardised incentives and interpretation difference on what we consider as an EEV.