Proton e.MAS — Proton’s foray into the EVs market

The automaker plans to debut the 1st model by year end 

by ZAHIN ZAILANI / pic MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

NATIONAL car manufacturer, Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Sdn Bhd (Proton), recently unveiled its first-ever venture into the electric vehicle (EV) brand with the all-new brand, Proton e.MAS, as well as the brand logo. 

On June 12, Proton invited The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) to this grand unveiling of its brand-new dive into the EV market, as well as the grand reveal of the new Proton logo for this sub-brand. 

Named “The Start of Something Elec- trifying”, the theme features mainly the direction that Proton is heading in the near future of 2024. Proton told the media on what Proton plans to achieve with its foray into the battery-EV (BEV) market. 

The unveiling began with a presentation by Proton CEO Li Chunrong, explaining Proton’s approach to the EV market, its expansion plans to expand and how it plan to accelerate the EV growth within the Malaysia market, as well as other advancements that Malaysia has made in the expansion into the EV industry. 

Li said it starts with developing a national BEV, acquiring advanced EV technology, which will boost EV adoption and finally nurture local EV talent. 

The new brand and what it produces are an extension of the values held at Proton, Li says

During his presentation, Li also shared some of the technological advancements they hope to make in Proton e.MAS. 

He said the new brand and what it produces are an extension of the values held at Proton which is innovative technology, reliability and internationality. 

“This is the next step in the evolution of the company and in the coming months, there will be additional announcements to build brand recognition and product advocacy leading up to the launch of the first e.MAS EV in December this year,” he said. 

Some of these technologies include cell-to-body technology developed by Geely Auto, which is when battery cells are seamlessly integrated into the body or chassis of the car itself. 

Li said this allows for much more space efficiency and weight reduction, hence, enhanced performance. 

Furthermore, there will be a blade battery which increases safety, adds the lifespan and allows for faster EV charging, as well as the 11-in-1 Electric Drive which boasts a compact design, lighter weight and better thermal management. These sorts of technologies will be leveraged to boost the transition into EVs as well as offer more competitive prices to Malaysian customers. 

During the launch, Proton Edar CEO Roslan Abdullah said there would be at least 20 Proton outlets to be finalised in 2024. 

“Two in Sabah and Sarawak, 10 in the Selangor and Kuala Lumpur (KL) area, and another 12 across the Malaysian peninsula.” 

He also discussed how Proton can help with EV adoption in the Malaysian car market, which is by offering affordable prices for e.MAS to benefit the public as well as the government. 

“We noticed many EV cars that are in the market are priced well above RM100,000 and we are looking to select a suitable price range that is good for Proton, the public and the government,” he said. 

Azlan explains the meaning behind the Proton e.MAS

Gold Standard 

After the presentations, Proton unveiled the EV line, the corresponding logo of Proton e.MAS and its chief designer Azlan Othman delivered a speech breaking down the meaning and logo design of Proton e.MAS. 

“While its letters share the same spelling as the Malay word ‘emas’, the pronunciation for this EV brand is quite different as the ‘e’ stands for ‘electric’ and ‘MAS’ stands for Malaysia. Therefore, e.MAS is a symbol of Malaysia’s leadership towards providing electric mobility 

“This unconventional spelling and pronunciation are a deliberate choice,” Azlan said. 

Azlan added that the production of Malaysia’s first EV would be towards the end of 2024, with a design based on the Geely Galaxy E5. 

“In fact, Proton had held a contest before this unveiling where participants were asked to submit their guesses for the name of the Proton e.MAS. 

“A lot of the workers here guessed the new line would be called the Electron, perhaps to match with the proton and electron of an atom theme. 

“However, the name e.MAS carried a lot of meaning and layers to it, which gave a lot more depth to the design and name given. The contest had some hints as well such as showing the headlights and roof rails of the Geely Galaxy E5 in the teaser,” Azlan said. 

Roslan says Proton will determine the volume and model lineup for future launches depending on public demand and acceptance

The carmakers also revealed its logo for the new EV, featuring a more minimalistic design of the tiger head. This new design represents an uncaged tiger head held high, a testament to its movement towards success. 

“The flattened, rather than the 3D format used, is in line with current design trends for EV brands that lean towards cleaner and less complicated graphics. 

“It carries the heritage and the pride symbolised in the tiger image. It evolved from the main brand logo featuring a flattering and clearer tiger image, which further allows for the logo to be recognised even at a distance in different conditions,” Azlan said. 

Proton said the first 17 EV dealers, who formalised their agreements during the ceremony, are ready to promote the EV. 

The set locations for these EV dealers will be nationwide with locations ranging from Kota Bharu to Georgetown to seven locations in the Selangor and KL area such as Cheras, Petaling Jaya and Rawang, and even a location in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. 

Proton added that it aims to have 30 outlets in place by 2025, expanding the network further beyond that timeframe, if need be, and Roslan expects that the first EV model will debut around the same time. 

“We have not decided on the timeline, but the first model (will be launched) very soon. It could be early 2025, or earlier,” Roslan said. 

He said as the main arm of the vehicle dealership, Proton Edar would like to ensure the acceptance of Proton EV within the market. 

“Depending on public demand and acceptance, we could determine the volume and model lineup for future launches,” he said. 

EV Infra for Proton’s Future 

This concern is, in part, what Li said during his presentation. 

“With Proton being Malaysia’s premiere automotive brand, Proton must invest in EV infrastructure to help EV buyers instead of leaving them high and dry, and that infrastructure will need to be completed before we advance into the selling stage. 

“Therefore, when Proton e.MAS models go on sale, customers can be reassured that all their needs will be taken care of just like it would be for buyers of the current Proton range. 

“This is why Proton has been deliberate in its approach towards EVs, developing our knowledge base step by step to ensure we have a thorough understanding of the products, technology and user concerns before sales even begin,” he added. 

This name and logo have truly shown that Proton approaches its projects in a very thought-out and layered method. 

From the design of the name to the logo that symbolises Malaysian heritage, while also considering the affordability and the pioneering of Malaysia’s EV market via infrastructure investment shows their dedication and passion towards giving Malaysia the best EV it can manufacture. 

Overall, the event was very enjoyable and is a momentous occasion in the Malaysian EV market history as the first step to Malaysia’s advancement into this industry. Proton takes what they’ve learned and adds the Malaysian aspect where they can to make products that embody Malaysian progress. 

As part of Proton’s creed, “The spirit of Malaysian heritage in empowering better mobility for our future”, the national carmaker continues to develop itself. 


  • This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition