This week, a ministerial proposal to ban motorcycles from Kuala Lumpur in effort to reduce carbon emission has prompted criticism from Malaysians. Flying below the radar of the discourse, however, is a homegrown manufacturer of a greener alternative that has been steadily growing.
Enter Eclimo, the Penang-based electric vehicle maker that will celebrate its ninth year of operations by June 2017. It focuses on producing electric scooters and high-capacity Lithium Ion battery packs.
If the name does not ring a bell, the sight of Eclimo’s electric scooters might as they are used by some Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) outlets for delivery services. Visitors to Penang may also see the same Eclimo scooters zip by as they are available for rent at RM50 per day on the island.
On Thursday, Jan 19 2017, Eclimo’s electric scooters also arrived in Kuching, Sarawak as the company handed over 10 units to Sarawak Energy Berhad, the state-owned electric power generator and sole power distributor in the state.
Eclimo was co-founded by managing director Liew Chung Peng and executive director Dato’ Dennis Chuah, initially focusing on research and development but later clinching several key patents, including that for Malaysia’s first electric scooter.
The catch, however, is that Eclimo does not sell its electric scooters at all. Rather, it leases them out to businesses, which helps bring in scale and sidesteps major retail sale challenges.
According to Chuah, Eclimo’s standard leasing tenure is a minimum of six years with at least 20 units. The monthly leasing charge of RM500 per scooter includes service and maintenance as well as battery pack replacement, but the customer bears other costs related to wear and tear.
The decision to target fleet operators rather than retail buyers may have been key to Eclimo’s viability so far. For the individual user, the cost of purchasing an Eclimo ES-11 scooter would likely be prohibitive at RM18,000 each.
Surmounting that cost hurdle, however seems to be on Eclimo’s minds eventually. According to its website, selling its electric scooters is “definitely included in Eclimo’s future plan”, implying that the mass market is a future goal.
The high cost is mainly due to Eclimo’s small scale of production, says Chuah. He adds that the cost of production will be lower for mass market consumers as upscaling output would bring economies of scale.
In turn, having Eclimo’s electric scooters going mass-market would boost the Malaysian government’s previously stated aspiration of having 100,000 electric vehicles on the roads by year 2020.
That aside, however Eclimo has already begun looking overseas. Its scooters are now used to ferry tourists around Cambodia’s Angkor Watt area, while the company was also seeking to export to Japan.
More information is available at Eclimo’s website and facebook page: