Eight out of 10 Malaysian drivers want more EVs on the road, says BMW survey

Malaysia is one of, if not the most car-dependent nation within the ASEAN region, and our car ownership figures back that up, despite a relatively low total industry volume (TIV) within the Malaysian automotive sector.

In fact, a recent survey by BMW Group in Southeast Asia, which polled 4,000 drivers from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, revealed that 85% of Malaysian respondents said that they drive every one to three days, either to and from the office (74%), to run daily errands (65%), or to travel on the weekends (36%).

Being such an important market, it stands to reason why carmakers are somewhat concerned about the acceptance of electric vehicles (EVs) in Malaysia, now that the entire industry is quickly shifting towards electrification. Encouragingly, BMW’s survey shows that eight out of 10 Malaysian drivers are open to seeing more EVs on the road.

The respondents quoted several reasons, including to reduce carbon emissions (72%), cost savings from using electricity instead of burning petrol (49%), as well as to experience a more premium driving experience (40%).

Despite that, nearly 60% of Malaysian drivers still say that they would likely choose a petrol-powered vehicle for their next purchase, mostly citing concerns such as range anxiety, maintenance costs, and difficulties in keeping their EVs charged.

BMW, however, says that these are “the concerns of yesterday”, as the technology surrounding EV and its ecosystems, including the charging networks, have already made significant progress over the past few years that it’s reached a point of maturity where those concerns do not hold much weight any more.

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Expanding on range anxiety concerns, the company says that its latest fleet of BMW i vehicles already possesses “excellent electric range” of up to 425 km, as seen on the iX xDrive40. Based on the premise that most Malaysians only travel up to 20 km daily, BMW says that recharging is only necessary roughly once every two to three weeks.

On top of reduced charging frequency, which will reduce disruptions to their daily car usage, the BMW i Wallbox is also capable of providing a full charge overnight. For the frequent long-distance travellers, BMW Group Malaysia has also begun deploying DC fast chargers across its dealership network, public spaces, and along the highways.

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As for the higher maintenance costs for EVs, which BMW says 41% of respondents believed, the company assures that an EV actually costs less to maintain, due to having fewer components in the vehicles that require servicing – the common wear-and-tear parts such as engine oil, spark plugs, and air filters are absent in EVs.

The company further adds that its electric vehicles are equipped with modular battery packs, so the cost of battery replacement is greatly reduced, as owners will only need to replace the faulty module instead of the entire battery.

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To further enhance the peace of mind of their owners, BMW also offers a five-year unlimited mileage warranty with free scheduled service, as well as a separate eight-year/160,000 km battery warranty for its EVs. The survey revealed that battery warranty (39%) and good aftersales support (35%) are some of the main motivators for drivers to adopt EVs.

The government’s support for EV adoption, particularly with the recent EV tax cut as outlined in Budget 2022, is also a key motivating factor for buyers here in Malaysia, with 45% of respondents citing cost as a concern.

BMW Group Malaysia Managing Director, Hans de Viser said, “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.”

He added, “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.”


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