Langkawi, a popular tourist destination off Malaysia’s northwest coast, is set to welcome a fleet of electric vehicles (EVs) as taxis on its roads with the first electric taxi expected to begin rolling by year-end.
Sources familiar with the matter says the fleet is expected to number around 40 EVs, which will be operated by local taxi drivers. Details are scarce but it is believed that BYD E6, Hyundai Ionic (all-electric) and the Nissan Leaf are among the models being looked at. Sources say the federal government would support the set-up of the charging infrastructure.
The move would be another step towards Malaysia’s medium-term goal of having 100,000 EVs on its roads nationwide by year 2020. That said, this goal seems to have been shifted to 2030, according to the latest statement from the government.
To support this goal, the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water (KeTTHA) plans to deploy 25,000 charging stations across the country by 2030, said its minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili in March. This is likely in addition to an estimated 100,000 charging stations at offices and user homes.
Why this matters
While Malaysia is placing stronger emphasis on expanding land public transportation (LPT) network as opposed to EVs per se, the move signals that the government recognises the importance of having an EV component for sustainable urban mobility.
Last April, Maximus outlined a national goal of becoming a marketing hub for EVs as part of Malaysia’s National Green Technology Master Plan and the Electric Mobility Blueprint (EMB). Apart from 100,000 EVs by 2030, the long-term goals also include having 2,000 electric buses nationwide by then.
“EMB is part of the government’s effort to introduce electric vehicles to replace diesel/petrol vehicles.”
“Expansion of the use of electric vehicles is important to reduce dependence on fossil fuel which is the source of energy for all air, marine and land transportation,” said Maximus.