On 13th January 2021, BMW Group Malaysia hosted BMW NextGen, a platform to facilitate conversations on sustainability and future mobility. At the top of the event, BMW took the opportunity to showcase their lineup of electric vehicles (EV) that will help pave the path for Malaysia’s Net-Zero greenhouse gas (GHG) goals by 2050.
BMW EV Lineup
This includes the BMW iX xDrive40 Sport, BMW iX3 M Sport and previewed for the first time in Malaysia, the BMW i4 eDrive40. Thanks to the import and excise duty exemption for EVs this year as outlined in Budget 2022, the iX3 and iX are cheaper compared to in 2021. The prices shown below are on the road without insurance and for the standard 2 year warranty with no additional add on.
BMW iX3 M Sport Inspiring –
BMW iX3 M Sport Impressive –
BMW iX eDrive40 Sport –
BMW iX eDrive40 –
The price for the BMW i4 eDrive40 has not been announced yet, but Paultan.org estimates the car to be priced below RM300,000. We will do a full coverage of the car when the prices are revealed.
BMW, MGTC, TNB, Siemens sign MOU promising more to come
However, the second half of the event is the most important and the primary objective of the BMW NextGen event. This was where BMW Group Malaysia, Malaysian Green Technology and Climate Change Corporation (MGTC), Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) and Siemens Malaysia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU outlines plans to further develop the ecosystem and infrastructure needed to support EVs for Malaysia’s Net-Zero GHG goals.
These include making charging stations as widely available as petrol stations and the electrical equipment needed to support all that power load. This will boost the confidence of future buyers to consider an EV.
Neither BMW nor its partners elaborated further on this matter at the event. Therefore, we do not have any information on projects or timetables. We will have to wait to see in the coming months for updates. But given the current state of charging facilities in Malaysia, here is what BMW and its partners must address at the very least.
4 things to drive EV adoption in Malaysia
Firstly, there must be more fast charging station available. EVs have a much larger battery compared to plug-in hybrids, and therefore will take longer to charge. For example, the BMW iX on an AC charger will take 7 hours to charge. With a DC fast charger, it will only take less than 30 minutes to top up to 80%. This is important as not only people can charge their cars faster, but there won’t be any chargers being hogged for hours.
Secondly, there must be enough chargers in one station. Unlike a petrol pump that takes just minutes to refuel, EV chargers take at least 30 minutes to juice up on a DC fast charger. To accommodate more EV users and minimise wait times, there should be more chargers installed per station.
Thirdly, is the price. It needs to be affordable to not scare of budget EV buyers. Shell recently introduced their DC fast charging service. For non-members, it will cost RM124 for 30 minutes of charge. If you pay RM835 per annum to become a gold member, you can charge your EV for the “low” price of RM64 for 30 minutes of charge. Depending on your vehicle’s efficiency and traveling distance, you could be charging once a week.
If you’re thinking “well, I’ll just charge at home then”, well that might work, if you paid extra for an AC wall box charger from your car manufacturer. Then you’ll be able to recharge your EV in around 7 hours. But if you plan on using a 3-pin charger, you’ll be doing a lot of waiting as it could take more than 30 hours to charge. Furthermore, you still must pay for it with your electricity bill, so you’re not really saving a significant amount of money by charging at home.
Therefore, BMW needs to figure out a reasonable pricing strategy that won’t make owning an EV a financial burden.
Finally, to reduce the price of home AC wall box charger. Currently, BMW’s i wallbox is priced at RM5,000 before installation fees and that price is fine for premium and luxury EV car buys. But for those that are buying a budget EV or even a second hand EV, that might be a hard price to swallow. In the tech world, high powered chargers have dropped in price significantly over the past decade. This is attributed to competition and demand which drives research to create affordable chargers. Therefore, BMW and its partners should invest in R&D for manufacturing affordable chargers that will be priced proportionally to the price of future budget EVs.
So, what if you buy a BMW EV – or any EV for the matter – today? Well, you will face a few hurdles trying to daily drive one.
As of August 2021, there are only around 500 public AC chargers and only 9 public DC fast chargers. These numbers pale in comparison to the number of petrol station available. The majority of those chargers belong to chargEV by MGTC. Currently, they can be found in 226 locations in Malaysia with 403 stations in total. There are plans to add an additional 1820 AC public chargers and new 250 DC public chargers to the network. Timetable on the plan was not provided at the event.
BMW Malaysia is currently partnered with MGTC to integrate ChargeNow directly into the BMW ConnectedDrive. This allows BMW drivers to search for ChargeNow stations using the iDrive system and receive its real-time status, pricing information and turn-by-turn directions.
As far as we can tell, BMW only offers one DC fast charger at Auto Bavaria Ara Damansara. It is rated for 180kW to support the iX3, iX and i4’s 150kW fast charging capacity. We should see more AC and especially DC fast chargers pop up soon with the current push to Net-Zero GHG future.
This initiative comes shortly after the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow from 31st October – 13th November 2021. The policies discussed were in line with the 2016 Paris Agreement which was to achieve a net-zero emission by 2050. Therefore, to kickstart the journey, the Malaysian Government outlined its plans to reach this target in the Twelfth Malaysia Plan (12MP) back in September 2021. Among others, the plan encompasses promoting the use of low emission and zero emission vehicles.
The EV tax breaks announced during Budget 2022 reflects this plan. Together with Green Income Tax Exemption (GITE), will help boost sales of EVs. This in turn will encourage companies and manufactures to take advantage of Green Technology Financing Scheme (GTFS) and Green Investment Tax Allowance (GITA) to invest in EV ecosystems and infrastructures.
The effect can be seen with other players as well. Examples like Shell Malaysia who recently announced their new 180kW charging network and Petronas, with Mercedes, are bringing DC fast chargers to Petronas stations by the first half of 2022.