This Aussie research ranks Malaysia as one of the cheapest countries to charge an EV, but there’s a catch

In many countries, more and more people are making the switch towards electric vehicles (EVs) due to charging costs being cheaper than buying petrol. However, in Malaysia, many might think differently about this matter, as first and foremost, EVs aren’t exactly cheap for most Malaysians despite the EV tax exemption policy in place. To find out if charging an EV is indeed cheaper than pumping petrol, an Australian comparison site, Comparethemarket has done a comparison between 50 different countries to see which country is the cheapest place to charge an EV, and ultimately find out if it is indeed cheaper than buying petrol.

According to the research, Malaysia is ranked among the cheapest countries to charge an EV, ranking just below Argentina. Charging an EV here in Malaysia is said to cost AUD0.97 (approx. RM2.92) for every 100 km driven, compared to the cost of AUD4.19 (approx. RM12.60) per 100 km using a petrol-powered car.

Source: Comparethemarket

When compared to our neighbouring countries, such as Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand, charging an EV in Malaysia is considerably cheaper too. For example, it costs AUD1.55 (approx. RM4.66) to charge an EV for every 100 km driven in Vietnam. For Indonesia and Thailand, on the other hand, it cost AUD1.89 (RM5.68) and AUD2.39 (approx. RM7.19) respectively.

To conduct the research, Comparethemarket utilised the outgoing Hyundai Kona, which was offered in both EV and internal combustion engine (ICE) options. The Hyundai Kona Electric Standard Range has a 39.2 kWh battery and an estimated WLTP range of 305 km.

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Under the hood of the regular Hyundai Kona on the other hand, is the brand’s 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated Smartstream engine. This car is said to have an estimated range of 806 km, based on the calculation from the site’s listed fuel consumption data.

To fully charge the Hyundai Kona Electric would cost AUD2.95 (approx. RM8.87). Filling up the Hyundai Kona’s tank on the other hand would cost AUD33.81 (approx. RM101.64). This translates into 76.98% savings per km by choosing an EV over a regular petrol-powered car in Malaysia.

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Source: Comparethemarket

Just in case you are curious, ranking at the top of the chart for the most expensive countries to charge an EV include Denmark, Italy, and Germany. Electricity costs for every 100 km driven in Denmark and Italy are AUD11.26 (approx. RM33.85). As for Germany, it costs AUD10.83 (approx. RM32.56). These prices are way beyond the price of AUD0.97 (approx. RM2.92) for every 100 km driven in Malaysia.

So what’s the catch you ask? The petrol and electricity prices used for the research were from the latest publicly available statistics in September 2022, which isn’t the latest, obviously. However, the main issue here is that the calculation done in the research is based on Malaysia’s cheapest tariff and with home charging only.

We’ve done the maths, and the charging cost used in the research amounts to RM0.21/kWh, which is correct but not quite an accurate representation of charging costs in reality. RM0.21/kWh is Malaysia’s electricity tariff for the first 200 kWh used at home (per month). In reality, home charging costs for an EV would hover in the RM0.57/kWh when monthly usage exceeds 900kWh.

Therefore, the data listed in the research isn’t exactly accurate for Malaysia, to say the least. We haven’t even factored in charging with public charging stations where the charging rates vary according to charging speed (some chargers are still priced by the minute).

What the study highlights though is the price disparity between using an electric vehicle and a petrol vehicle in terms of energy price. There is a significant savings (in terms of energy cost) when you choose an electric car over a petrol one. Its just that electric cars aren’t exactly cheap in Malaysia

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