Fast EV chargers along NSC by 1Q21

Building a national EV charging corridor would be a good start to catalyse EV growth, says expert

by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic credit:

A NETWORK of fast-charging DC (direct current) charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) along the North-South Corridor (NSC) of Peninsular Malaysia would be rolled out by the first quarter of 2021 (1Q21).

EV Connection Sdn Bhd CEO Lee Yuen How said the company of JomCharge is assisting Chevron Malaysia Ltd, Porsche Malaysia, ABB Malaysia Sdn Bhd and Vision Motorsport Sdn Bhd to instal DC fast chargers at their respective locations and highways.

“By 1Q21, we would be putting up DC chargers at those locations which will reduce the range anxiety for people who buy EV before they can travel from Kuala Lumpur (KL) to Penang, or KL to Johor Baru (JB),” Lee said in a webinar hosted by European Union-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry yesterday.

Among the current and future DC fast charger locations are Porsche JB, Caltex R&R (rest and relaxation) Skudai, Caltex Ayer Keroh, ABB Subang Jaya, Porsche Ara Damansara, Caltex Bukit Gantang and Porsche Prai.

Lee said DC chargers at Porsche centres are currently exclusive for Porsche owners, but they are in discussions to open up the facility to other brands to ensure the chargers are fully utilised.

He said many car manufacturers are reluctant to bring in EVs into the Malaysian market due to insufficient infrastructure.

“With the assistance and the companies that are coming in to help build the DC charger, we hope there is no reason for auto manufacturers to mention that DC charger infrastructure is not sufficient for you to travel out of town,” he added.

Lee said Malaysia is estimated to have about 500 public AC (alternating current) chargers (3.7kW to 22kW) including over 350 units installed by ChargeEV, one of the pioneers in providing charging infrastructure in the country.

He said there are only three units of public DC chargers in Malaysia by 2020, one each at Ayer Keroh R&R southbound in North-South Expressway, ABB Malaysia’s office in Bandar Sunway, Selangor, and Nichicon (M) Sdn Bhd in Bangi, Selangor.

AC chargers are usually installed at homes and offices for a longer charging time of four to eight hours, while commercial premises such as petrol stations and highways need DC chargers for rapid charging.

Malaysian EV Owners Club (MyEVOC) president Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi said building a national EV charging corridor would be a good start to catalyse EV growth.

Based on MyEVOC analysis, he said Malaysia only requires as few as 10 rapid charging stations to address range anxiety and enable outstation travel.

He said the cost for the 10 rapid charging stations of 50kW DC chargers is estimated to be between RM1.5 million and RM2 million.

“This is something that we hope to see both the private sector and the government jointly get on, especially around the North-South Corridor from Penang to Johor, and moving on to the east coast,” Shahrol Azral said in the webinar.

He said there are three major groups of EV users, namely owners of internal combustion engine cars who had no direct experience with plug-in cars; plug-in hybrid EV owners; and battery EV owners.

There are 194 battery EVs and 52,467 hybrid EVs registered in Malaysia as of May 2019, according to Shahrol Azral based on available data.

A lack of awareness among consumers and limited charging facilities are hampering the growth of the hybrid and EV market in Malaysia.

Malaysia’s National Automotive Policy 2020 (NAP 2020) was launched last February to position the country as an auto exporter and embrace future mobility, including connected mobility and EVs.

NAP 2020 is a new framework which incorporates three new advanced technological elements, namely next-generation vehicle, Mobility-as-a-Service and IR4.0.

One of the key developments planned under the policy is the setting up of an autonomous automated connected mobility centre of excellence, comprising an autonomous vehicle testbed, EV interoperability centre and motorcycle emission test centre.