SOCAR Mobility Malaysia (SOCAR) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) to leverage on shared demand data on electric vehicle (EV) usage in Malaysia. This MoU signals the intention of both parties to team up and jointly accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles (EV). This effort to encourage EV adoption is in line with national and global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, which is estimated at around 21% of Malaysia’s 2016 CO2 emissions.
The MoU outlines TNB’s plans to leverage on SOCAR’s data on vehicle usage as well as travel behaviour so that it can identify strategic locations to install of charging infrastructure. The demand data shared would help TNB determine the location, number and type of chargers to install, including direct current (DC) fast chargers.
SOCAR has fleet expertise and rich data resources with plans to expand its coverage with a sizable fleet of EVs in the next 2 – 3 years. This would involve rolling out up to 50 EV zones by the end of 2022. By offering EVs on its car sharing platform, SOCAR can make EVs more accessible to the public, addressing the oft-cited barrier of cost holding back drivers to switch to electric mobility. SOCAR’s comprehensive database of car sharing usage and preferences will form the foundation for selecting EV models for the rollout as well as the locations of these EV zones. It is hoped that this effort to enable positive EV driving experiences will create new advocates who will contribute to a wider acceptance of EV.
“As a future-centric tech-powered flex mobility provider, we are committed to driving the adoption of sustainable mobility. For us, this means using our platform and resources to enable more drivers to experience the benefits of driving an EV, thus helping them transition from conventional fossil-fuel powered cars,” said Leon Foong, CEO of SOCAR Mobility Malaysia.
“From talking to Malaysian drivers, we know it is crucial to enable EV use without owning one and to plug the gaps in the current EV charging infrastructure to overcome range anxiety among potential EV adopters. We are pleased to once again work with TNB to introduce users to a seamless EV driving experience. In addition, our car sharing model also supports drivers who wish to own an EV, as they can generate income to offset ownership costs by listing their EV on our TREVO people-to-people car sharing marketplace,” said Foong.
Currently, the EV penetration rate is low. It makes up less than 0.05%* of the estimated 14.5 million registered private cars in the country. This presents room for growth in this segment, but awareness and infrastructure are still required.
“We at TNB support the e-mobility movement in the transportation sector to encourage higher adoption of EVs in the country. With sustainability embedded in our business agenda, we are ready to work with like-minded partners like DHL Express Malaysia and SOCAR to deploy low carbon mobility initiatives. TNB is set to take a leading role in driving EV adoption in Malaysia, especially among fleet management operators, and one of the key steps to achieving this is by establishing more EV charging zones that would be utilised optimally based on known travel routes,” said Datuk Ir. Megat Jalaluddin Megat Hassan, Chief Retail Officer of TNB.
“This recent collaboration with SOCAR is more extensive, compared to our initial partnership back in December 2019 when TNB became the enabler for SOCAR’s first two EV zones in Cyberjaya with the introduction of the first-ever EVs in their fleet. Together, we are confident in fostering more interest from other players in the EV infrastructure ecosystem to achieve a robust synergistic business environment that would benefit the EV community at large,” said Megat.
Foong added that it is estimated that with the current charging infrastructure, a Nissan LEAF would take over 24 hours to drive approximately 1,000 km from Johor Bahru to Kota Bharu. Meanwhile, a Mini cooper SE would take around 20 hours, with 8 of those hours spent on charging.
“To overcome this hurdle, each state in the peninsula will need to have 150 kW DC fast chargers in at least one key travel hub, to facilitate inter-city travel. This illustrates the urgency of developing a strategic EV charging infrastructure roadmap on the journey towards achieving an ideal ratio of high speed chargers to EVs. Ultimately, nations need to target a high supply metric which weights DC chargers higher while ensuring the sufficiency ratio stays within the optimal range. Having charging infrastructure at high frequency, low-mid mileage travel hotspots can be a great way to introduce people to using EVs to meet their urban mobility needs,” he added.
While long term education, sufficient infrastructure and lower battery costs are key to encouraging EV adoption in Malaysia, this collaboration between SOCAR and TNB will be an instrumental step in giving the public first-hand experience of what it truly means to adopt the electric car lifestyle. The wider use of EV is expected to lower air and noise pollution in the cities, and provide a more pleasant environment.