In moving towards electrification, Perodua has just unveiled the Perodua Ativa Hybrid, the first hybrid car from a Malaysian car brand. The Perodua Ativa Hybrid is only available as a subscription and it is a part of a first-of-its-kind electric vehicle study as well as a “mobility as a service” market study by Perodua. The monthly subscription fee is limited to 300 units only and all units have been subscribed for. The subscription programme is handled by Perodua’s existing arm called “EZ Mobi”.
Perodua has divided the study into two parts, with the first part to understand group driving behaviour of a hybrid vehicle in populated locations like Klang Valley, Penang, and Johor Bahru. The other part of the study aims to understand consumers’ acceptance of a five-year “subscription” service.
Powering the car is a series hybrid system. What this means is that the wheels are solely propelled by the electric motor that produces 106 hp and 170 Nm. Under the hood is a 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine that produces 82 hp and 105 Nm, but it only functions as a generator/range extender. Designed for urban driving, the Ativa hybrid’s battery capacity is only 4.3Ah.
A similar system is used by Nissan for the e-Power drivetrain, which allows you to experience “electric driving” while still fuelling up the car with petroleum gasoline and not having to look for charging stations. All power is sent to the front wheels and the Ativa Hybrid supposedly has a fuel consumption of 31.3 km/l based on the Malaysian Driving Cycle test.
Since the Ativa Hybrid drives like an electric car, it also comes with a one-pedal driving feature called the “Smart Pedal”. Changing between “normal” and eco” modes affects the throttle response.
Another change in terms of driving experience is the use of the electronic parking brake (EPB) instead of the mechanical hand brake lever. This also allows for the implementation of an “auto-hold” function.
Essentially a rebadged Daihatsu Rocky e-Smart Hybrid, the grille and air conditioning controls are noticeably different from the normal Perodua Ativa. With only the centre caps changed, the wheels are also shared with the Daihatsu Rocky e-smart.
To the uninitiated, it will be quite hard to tell apart the normal Ativa from the hybrid version. The bumpers are different and so is the grille, but the difference is not obvious. There are no “ e-Smart Hybrid” badges on the front fenders, although the Rocky has them. Another small difference on the additional mirror on the left wing mirror.
On the inside, significant differences between the Ativa hybrid and the normal Ativa include the Aircond controls, the EPB, and the upholstery. There are also cooling vents in the interior for the hybrid battery. For the Ativa Hybrid, a tyre repair kit replaces the full-sized spare in the regular Ativa.
As for safety, the Ativa Hybrid gets the same safety features as the Daihatsu Rocky e-smart which include newly EPB with auto hold cornering trace assist (CTA). CTA applies a small amount of braking force to the “inside” wheel when it detects the car to be drifting while taking a corner.
Perodua President and CEO, Dato’ Sri Zainal Abidin Ahmad said, “The Perodua Ativa Hybrid would be the best vehicle for us to gain unique insights on Malaysian behaviour as a controlled group, as this data will be used to anticipate our customers’ needs when using an electric vehicle.”
On the subject of vehicle subscription, he adds, “While we believe that vehicle ownership will still be our bread and butter; there is the possibility that a vehicle subscription business model may be acceptable for more users in the near future.”
“This is what we mean by ‘subscription’ – a service where all other obligations of owning a vehicle – such as following a service schedule, paying vehicle insurance and paying road tax – will be managed entirely by us; all the customer has to do is pay a subscription fee to enjoy the package.”
Although the Perodua Ativa Hybrid is only a market study, it is the first hybrid car from a Malaysian car brand. The subscription costs RM500 and lasts for 5 years. An upfront payment of RM 2,150 is required. Both the hybrid powertrain and subscription programme are a first for a local car brand. At the launch event itself, Perodua handed over five keys to five of the Ativa Hybrid subscribers.