During the MoU exchange between PRO-NET (Proton’s new energy vehicle subsidiary) and Gentari (Petronas’ clean energy subsidiary), Proton announced that it will develop its own electrified cars soon which they refer to as new energy vehicles (NEVs). The NEV term includes mild-hybrid vehicles (MHEV), plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV), and fully electric vehicles (EV).
The local carmaker is currently working closely with Smart (via PRO-NET) to ensure their EV offerings match the usage profile of Malaysian EV buyers. Although Proton signed a general distributorship agreement with Smart in August, Proton plans to have NEVs of its own brand. To obtain the necessary know-how on NEVs, Proton will send 16 of its engineers to China to be trained in all aspects of the field.
Proton Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Roslan Abdullah said, “Today’s exchange of documents with Gentari addresses one piece of Proton’s move into the NEV market and opens opportunities to collaborate with the clean energy subsidiary of Petronas to contribute to the buildup of Malaysia’s charging infrastructure. However, Proton must pay equal attention to other areas of the business if we want to have a comprehensive business solution.”
“For instance, as a national automotive brand Proton should spearhead the development of Malaysia’s EV ecosystem by investing in knowledge and expertise to address potential blind spots in areas where we have little experience. So, we are sending 16 engineers to China for six months to be trained in R&D, vehicle performance, homologation, and testing with the aim of eventually developing and selling a homegrown NEV. This is an important step in supporting the government’s efforts to move Malaysia towards a knowledge-based economy and to be a regional epicentre for NEVs,” he adds.
In the past, Proton has showcased prototype electric vehicles with range extenders, prototype fully-electric vehicles, and prototype mild-hybrid powertrains. However, one has yet to make it to production. With its new subsidiary and collaboration with new parties, an electrified car with a Proton badge is to be expected soon.