Owning an electric vehicle (EV) here in Malaysia is not as simple as it may seem, at least for now. Not only does it require you to adjust to the “charging disciplines”, owning an EV here also pretty much requires you to install an array of apps on your mobile phone to ensure smooth and uninterrupted journeys.
These apps are needed to either locate or activate charging stations. Like the various e-wallet apps in existence, there are also various apps for EV charging. But unlike the e-wallets, these here are not always interoperable – which means you’ll need to have all of them on your phone to get access to the various charging networks available here in Malaysia.
PlugShare, as its name implies, is an app for you to share information on charging points. Should you wish, you could even share your home charger with the public. There are no payment gateways on PlugShare, but you do have the option to “check-in” and “check-out” to inform others that you are occupying a charging station.
PlugShare is good for “free” chargers with no payment apps (like the one in ABB Sunway). Free chargers are becoming less common, but PlugShare remains a necessary app to have, as all chargers are listed regardless of the service provider. Users can also add check-in reviews and photo updates on charging stations.
chargEV is the product of Malaysia Green Tech Corporation (MGTC) which now has over 300 charging stations nationwide. Examples of its chargers are the non-tethered (no included cables) ones you see at Petronas stations. chargEV’s newer chargers are equipped with tethered cables.
By default, chargEV chargers are activated with an RFID card. Initially, the platform requires a paying subscription in order to access the chargers, but chargEV has now enabled a pay-per-use basis for non-subscribers. In Malaysia, most new EVs come with a free chargEV subscription that lasts for about a year.
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JomCharge is the charging network run by EV charging specialist, EVC Sdn Bhd. Some very useful DC fast chargers are accessible via the app. For example, the 50-kW DC Fast Charger (DCFC) at the Caltex in the Bukit Gantang lay-by is excellent for Northbound trips.
Back in May 2022, JomCharge and Setel joined forces to allow Setel payments at a few JomCharge charging points. By default, JomCharge payments are made via credit card. Among chargers listed in JomCharge are those provided by Gentari, a Petronas entity.
As mentioned earlier, Setel also provides a payment service for EV charging in Malaysia. At the moment of writing, you can use Setel to pay at 20 EV charging stations in Malaysia. Acting solely as a payment service provider, the chargers listed on the Setel App are not exclusive to Setel – Payment can also be made via credit card.
5. GO TO-U
GO TO-U is an app managed by TNBX, a subsidiary of Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB). Most chargers listed on the GO TO-U app are either provided by Sime Darby Motors or TNBX.
The interesting thing about the GO TO-U app is that you can book the charging station ahead of time. There are a good number of DC fast chargers listed on GO TO-U, with charging rates of up to 90 kW.
ParkEasy is a parking app that happens to have some parking bays with EV chargers. The charging is a little bit more expensive as Parkeasy essentially provides exclusive parking spots. Examples of its charging bays can be seen in Sunway Pyramid. They are the kind of parking spots with bollards that fold down once activation is done via mobile app.
Payment is made via topping up the credits in your ParkEasy account. This can be done via credit card or online banking. Another example of a ParkEasy charging bay is the DCFC at Shell Tangkak. Shell has its own EV charging network called Shell Recharge, but since Shell acquired 50% of Pixelbyte (the company behind ParkEasy), Shell DC Fast chargers in Malaysia are accessed via the ParkEasy app.
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7. A Better Route Planner (ABRP)
Like PlugShare, ABRP lists all charging stations regardless of the service provider. There is no payment gateway in the app, but as its name suggests, the app helps to plan your routes better.
Upon starting the app, it will require you to input the make and model of your EV. In case you have to make a journey, simply key in your start and end point and input the state of charge (SOC) of your car’s battery. ABRP will then generate your estimated time of arrival (ETA) and even include estimated charging times and estimated SOC at significant points of your journey.
It certainly is quite a number of apps to install on your mobile phone just to be able to drive your EV around Malaysia. If you’d like to give the EV experience a try, you could always try renting one before fully committing to a purchase.