Tesla to import electric cars into Malaysia, set up charging network

Tesla will set up an office in Malaysia, introduce service centres and build a network of superchargers. PHOTO: AFP

MUMBAI -Mr Elon Musk’s Tesla will sell its electric cars in Malaysia to tap the rising demand for electric vehicles (EVs) in South-east Asia.

Tesla will set up an office in Malaysia, introduce service centres and build a network of superchargers, the country’s trade ministry said in a statement on Wednesday after approving the company’s application to import EVs.

Malaysia is focusing on the development of an EV ecosytem and has offered incentives to boost adoption. The country has a target of having EVs, including hybrids, account for 15 per cent of the total industry volume by 2030.

Fitch Solutions said in February that it expects EV sales in Malaysia to expand 82 per cent in 2023 – albeit from a low base – to about 5,840 units.

The incentives, which include import-duty exemptions on completely built-up EVs, have lured carmakers to Malaysia. China’s BYD in December said it would introduce its flagship Atto 3 model and the extended-range version in the country. Mercedes-Benz in February introduced its first locally made EV in Malaysia, according to Fitch.

South-east Asia has become a new battleground for EVs as carmakers look beyond their home market for further expansion, with BYD and South Korea’s Hyundai Motor finalising deals to invest in Indonesia, the region’s largest economy.

Annual passenger EV sales in the six largest economies in the region exceeded 51,000 units in 2022, compared with just 16,000 in 2021, according to BloombergNEF, with sales projected to top 70,000 in 2023. BLOOMBERG

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