8 Of 10 Malaysian Drivers Told BMW They Want To See More...

8 Of 10 Malaysian Drivers Told BMW They Want To See More EVs On The Road

BMW iX_ChargingIn a recent survey, 8 out of 10 Malaysian drivers told BMW they want to see more electric vehicles (EVs) on the road. This is mainly for the hope of contributing to a more environmentally conscious world. Interestingly, reducing carbon emissions factored quite high (72%) among those surveyed, despite Malaysia not taxing car owners based on emissions (we still go by the outmoded method of tax by engine size). Other benefits of EV mentioned were cost savings from using electricity instead of petrol (49%), and a more premium experience (40%).

Malaysia is a car-dependent country with one of the highest car ownership rates in Southeast Asia. Based on the new survey by the BMW Group in Southeast Asia, about 85% of Malaysian respondents indicated that they drive every 1 to 3 days, either to drive to and from the office (74%), run daily errands (65%), or travel on the weekends (36%).

BMW iX xDrive40_EVYet despite some 80% saying they want more EVs on the road, misconceptions on EVs remain, leaving these aspirations to make the switch unrealised. For their next purchase, 59% of the Malaysian drivers surveyed said they will likely choose a petrol vehicle, despite having the motivation to go green. Some common concerns raised include the driving range of EVs, maintenance costs, as well as difficulty in keeping their EVs charged. Notably, 33% of respondents believed that EVs can only travel up to 100 km before requiring a recharge; while another 41% expected EVs to be more expensive to service or maintain over a period of 10 years; while 29% believe that charging EVs would pose difficulty.

Although these are valid concerns, in reality these are somewhat outdated. New developments by BMW’s i electrified mobility, along with a growing ecosystem for charging and support, have addressed these issues.

“It is encouraging to see the level of awareness and excitement around sustainable mobility, and that Malaysian drivers see EVs as the gateway to a more premium driving experience. Being the pioneer of electrified mobility in Malaysia and having been in the field since 2015, we have observed how Malaysian drivers are receptive and even enthusiastic about transitioning to EVs but remain concerned about key issues surrounding it – all of which we have been actively working to alleviate,” said Hans de Visser, Managing Director of BMW Group Malaysia.

“In addition to introducing the best that we have to offer with the latest fleet of vehicles from BMW i, we have also been proactively developing our infrastructure for charging the vehicles. With these initiatives, there is also an opportunity to change the perception of prospective EV owners in Malaysia on the significant advancements made and that an electric future for the passenger vehicle market in Malaysia is  closer than they think. In the end, it is about helping Malaysians realise that they now have a greater Power of Choice to adopt a more sustainable way of mobility,” he added.

The latest EV offerings from BMW i address many of the past and current concerns Malaysians have about EV adoption. For example, the perception that EVs have only a travel range up to 100 km before needing to recharge has been tackled by maturing technology. For instance, the BMW iX xDrive40 has a driving range of up to 425 km (WLTP) on a full charge. In daily usage, Malaysian motorists generally drive about 20 km and thus will only require recharging about once every 2 to 3 weeks, similar to a petrol-powered vehicle.

BMW iX xDrive50 Sport_ChargingThis in turn also helps BMW to address the perception of charging difficulties or frequency, which is also bolstered by the convenient BMW i Wallbox for home use. The box is able to give the car a full charge overnight while you sleep. Furthermore, the latest BMW i vehicles are also compatible with DC fast charging, which BMW Group Malaysia has begun to deploy across its dealership network, public spaces and on the highways, in collaboration with its premium partners.

BMW i_High Voltage BatteryOn the issue of higher cost of service and maintenance, according to BMW, EVs cost less in this matter as there are fewer components that require servicing. The usual components that we are accustomed to such as engine oil, spark plugs and air filters, are absent in an EV. Besides this, battery replacement woes are mitigated by the modular nature of the lithium-ion battery packs. With multiple modules making up the battery pack, the cost of replacement is greatly reduced as owners need only to replace the faulty module, and not the entire battery pack.

Further peace of mind for EV owners also comes from substantial warranty programmes, such as the BMW 5-year Unlimited Mileage Warranty with Free Scheduled Service, and the BMW 8-year / 160,000 km Battery Warranty. In the survey, battery warranty was a motivation to adopt EVs (39% of Malaysian drivers), while good aftersales support (35%) was also important.

More importantly, support on the governmental level (45% of respondents) as well as pricing remain key considerations for Malaysian drivers looking to make the switch to EVs. Although the government had put in place incentives for Energy Efficient Vehicles (EEV) which saw the introduction of plug-in hybrids (PHEV) in this market, more long term and determined policies and incentives are still needed to ensure stability and predictability for the growth of the EV market here. With clear policies in place, local and foreign companies will be able to plan longer term investments.

A crucial and long term investment for the future of EVs is the charging infrastructure. BMW Group Malaysia had established partnerships with various stakeholders over the years to rapidly expand the charging infrastructure across the country. This development is set to further accelerate as BMW had further outlined its commitment at the recent NEXTGen Malaysia event. It had signed memoranda of understanding (MoU) with Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), Siemens Malaysia and Malaysian Green Technology and Climate Change Corporation (MGTC) to further advance the EV ecosystem in the country.

With that, Malaysians can expect more affordable EVs without disruption, especially as more EV players establish their presence in Malaysia, as a result of a maturing ecosystem.

“Increased support and confidence from key players in the industry will play a significant role in getting Malaysian drivers comfortable with making the switch over the next few years. As a market leader and pioneer in the Electric Vehicle space, we are committed to delivering innovation that will truly make a change in the Malaysian automotive landscape, while continuing to deliver Sheer Driving Pleasure,” added de Visser.

BMW Group’s online survey for Southeast Asia polled 4,000 drivers from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, with a target of at least 2,800 driver’s license holders specifically, to further understand familiarity and preference toward EVs among Southeast Asian drivers. Other topics explored included attitudes toward the impact of EVs on the environment as well as factors that would motivate them to purchase an EV.


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