The biggest hindrance to the viability of electric vehicles as practical motoring solutions comes from its limited range in a single charge of their batteries. A normal recharge cycle of an EV battery takes six to eight hours, but that gives the vehicle a maximum traveling range of no more than 150-160km at most, and that is with gentle driving.
For electric vehicles to emerge as a preferred choice of motorists, there needs to be infrastructure in place that is capable of returning an EV’s battery to a healthy level of charge in a relatively short time frame, preferably not much longer than it would take us to refuel our current internal combustion engine vehicles.
The extensive level of infrastructure development needed for the above scenario to become remains a distant dream at this point in time, but efforts need to begin today concurrent with continued efforts of awareness building on the pros and cons of electric vehicle motoring.
Currently, Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Renault are the only three brands actively promoting the cause of electric motoring. Mitsubishi is officially selling the i-MiEV, whilst Nissan and Renault, through their respective local distributors (both of the Tan Chong Group), are operating small fleets of test vehicles that go from road show to road show busy making themselves visible to the public.
In its most recent initiative, Renault distributor TC Euro Cars took a pair of Renault Fluence ZE electric vehicles in a specially organized media drive from Klang Valley to Malacca. Flagged off from the Petronas Solaris Station in Serdang with the batteries at full charge, the convoy cruised its way to Seri Negeri Melaka without needing to recharge. Units of the Nissan Leaf from Edaran Tan Chong Motors Sdn Bhd were also part of the convoy.
“The main reason for this challenge is to tackle the number one issue that faces EVs – range anxiety,” explained Reza Mutalib, the General Manager for TC Euro Cars.
Reza, who is typically more accustomed to presenting more enthusiast-oriented products such as the Clio RS and Megane RS, further confirmed that electric-powered Renault vehicles are on the way to Malaysia, saying, “The actual cars that we will bring to the market next year will offer even longer driving range and dramatically shorter charging times.”
Held in collaboration with the Malacca State Government, the Hatten Group, and Green Tech Malaysia, the event also marked the opening of Malacca’s first EV charging station at Hatten Square by First Energy Networks (FEN) Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Tan Chong Motor Holdings Bhd. FEN has currently deployed a total of 15 EV charging points nationwide, with a further five to come before the year ends. Whilst majority of the charging stations are concentrated in the Klang Valley, FEN has spread its network to selected locations in Penang and now Malacca as well.
Pictures: Official Renault release.