Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) and PLUS Malaysia signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to invest in the development of sustainable green energy solutions. The first agenda on the list is to build electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructures along the North-South Expressway (NSE), which will make interstate travel more seamless for EVs.
Moreover, the MOU also outlined the initiative to install roofs equipped with solar panels and select R&R stops will get an energy efficiency monitoring system.
Yesterday, President and CEO of TNB, Datuk Ir. Baharin Din and Managing Director of PLUS Malaysia, Datuk Azman Ismail signed the MOU at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
Also present were Prime Minister, Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Finance Minister, Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz dan Minister of International Trade and Industry, Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali to witness the signing ceremony.
As it stands right now, there’s no timeline provided for the implementation of the initiatives. While we wait for information from both parties, here are my guesses for what to expect.
First and foremost, the charging infrastructure on the NSE will eliminate the need for EV owners to keep or rent a petrol-powered car for making long journeys. It will also reduce the range anxiety commonly associated with owning an EV.
The MOU did not mention if AC or DC fast chargers will be implemented, but a realistic assumption is the latter. DC fast chargers provide a higher charging power compared to AC chargers, which cuts down charging time. For instance, the Nissan Leaf which has a range of up to 311km can get a full charge in around an hour using a 50kW DC fast charger. However, with a 6.6kW AC charger, it takes the Leaf seven hours to reach a full charge.
For a drive from KL to JB with the Nissan Leaf, Nissan Malaysia recommends a quick charging stop at Ayer Keroh R&R, which is equipped with a 50kW DC fast charger. But from KL to Penang, it recommends overnight charging at its 3S dealership in Ipoh because there is only a 6.6kW AC charger provided. Therefore, it will more practical to build more DC fast chargers to reduce waiting time for EV users.
Another important point would be the strategic placements of charging stations. I believe TNB plans to tackle this with the help of Socar. Back in August 2021, both companies signed an MOU that would see Socar share data on vehicle usage and travel behaviours with TNB. This data could probably be used to strategically install charging infrastructure along key travel routes across the NSE.
Socar Malaysia CEO Leong Foong shared that with the current charging infrastructure, a trip from Johor Bahru to Kota Bharu with a Mini SE would take around 20 hours which include 8 hours spent on charging alone. He suggested that to overcome this hurdle, each state in the peninsula will need to have 150kW DC fast chargers in at least one key travel hub to facilitate inter-city travel.
All this effort is to instil confidence in potential EV buyers which Malaysia needs to reach Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas (GHG) goals by 2050.
Likewise, to reduce dependency on electricity derived from fossil fuels, TNB and PLUS Malaysia are also investing in solar panels, presumably for the roofs of R&R buildings. This will help the transition towards using more sustainable green energy solutions. As for the energy efficiency monitoring system at select R&R stops, it remains to be seen what parameters will be monitored.
In January this year, Shell Malaysia has also announced its High Performance Charging (HPC) network which will see the deployment of twelve 180kW chargers at six Shell stations along the NSE. The first station with the HPC is located at Shell Tangkak Lay-By (South Bound). If your EV supports 180kW charging, it will take 30 minutes to charge from 0-80%.
Following the new EV incentives announced during Budget 2022, more carmakers have started to introduce their EV models for the Malaysian market. This week alone, we saw the launch of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the Mercedes-Benz EQA 250 AMG Line.
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