BMW Group Malaysia Drives the Malaysian EV Ecosystem with Next-Generation BMW i Fleet

Malaysia is a car-dependent country with one of the highest car ownership rates in Southeast Asia. A new survey conducted by the BMW Group in Southeast Asia reveals just how car-dependent Malaysian drivers are, with 85% of respondents indicating that they drive every one to three days – either to drive to and from the office (74%), run daily errands (65%), or travel on the weekends (36%).

Encouragingly, 8 out of 10 of Malaysian drivers also desire to see more electric vehicles (EVs) on the road, with the hope of contributing to a more environmentally conscious world. Reduced carbon emissions (72%), cost savings from using electricity instead of petrol (49%) and a more premium experience (40%) are just some of the key benefits cited by drivers who see the merits of a more electrified Malaysia.

Nevertheless, misconceptions on EVs remain, leaving these aspirations to make the switch unrealised – more than half of the Malaysian drivers surveyed say that they will likely choose a petrol vehicle (59%) for their next purchase, despite motivations to go green. Some common concerns raised were the electric range of EVs, the maintenance costs, as well as the difficulty in keeping their EVs charged. Specifically, 33% of respondents believe that EVs can only travel up to 100 km before requiring a recharge; another 41% expect EVs to be more expensive to service or maintain over a period of 10 years; while 29% believe that charging EVs would pose difficulty.

Valid as they are for any prospective EV owner, these are the concerns of yesterday. As exemplified by BMW i’s pioneering progress in electrified mobility over the years, the technology surrounding EVs and the ecosystem developed to support them have come a long way. With the arrival of the latest BMW i fleet, as well as the expansion of the BMW i public charging network, Malaysians have much to look forward to – specifically, a future that is truly electric.

Hans de Visser, Managing Director of BMW Group Malaysia said, “It is encouraging to see the level of awareness and excitement around sustainable mobility, and that Malaysian drivers see EVs as the gateway to a more premium driving experience. Being the pioneer of electrified mobility in Malaysia and having been in the field since 2015, we have observed how Malaysian drivers are receptive and even enthusiastic about transitioning to EVs but remain concerned about key issues surrounding it – all of which we have been actively working to alleviate.”

He added, “In addition to introducing the best that we have to offer with the latest fleet of vehicles from BMW i, we have also been proactively developing our infrastructure for charging the vehicles. With these initiatives, there is also an opportunity to change the perception of prospective EV owners in Malaysia on the significant advancements made and that an electric future for the passenger vehicle market in Malaysia is closer than they think. In the end, it is about helping Malaysians realise that they now have a greater Power of Choice to adopt a more sustainable way of mobility.”

How BMW i leads the way in bringing more Malaysians to an electric future.
The latest EVs from BMW i tackle many of the past and current concerns Malaysians have towards adopting EVs. According to the survey, a significant number of them (39%) have the perception that EVs can only travel up to 100 km before needing to recharge. A culmination of years of expertise in the field, the newest fleet of vehicles from BMW i possesses excellent electric range – for example, up to 425 km (WLTP) on a full charge, as seen in the BMW iX xDrive40. With the premise that most Malaysians only travel up to 20 km daily, recharging is only necessary roughly once every two to three weeks.

Another perception is around the difficulty of charging EVs – with 29% of Malaysians surveyed believing that the process of charging an EV can prove troublesome. However, in many ways, charging a BMW i vehicle would not be disruptive, partly due to its sufficient electric range allowing for less frequent charging. Additionally, charging in the comfort of home with the BMW i Wallbox overnight can adequately provide for a full charge. The latest BMW i vehicles are also compatible with DC fast charging, which BMW Group Malaysia has begun to deploy across its dealership network, public spaces and on the highways, in collaboration with its premium partners.

On the misconception that EVs are more expensive to service and maintain – a view held by 41% of survey respondents – EVs actually cost less in this regard, due to having fewer components in the vehicle that require servicing. Components and elements, such as engine oil, spark plugs and air filters, are absent in an EV. Aside from this, the woes of battery replacements are also mitigated due to the modular nature of the lithium-ion battery packs at the heart of every electrified BMW. With multiple modules making up the battery pack, the cost of replacement is greatly reduced as owners need to replace only the faulty module, not the entire battery pack.

Further peace of mind is also ensured courtesy of substantial warranty programmes, such as the BMW 5-year Unlimited Mileage Warranty with Free Scheduled Service, and the BMW 8-year / 160,000 km Battery Warranty. After all, the survey has revealed battery warranty as a motivation to adopt EVs for 39% of Malaysian drivers, while good aftersales support makes up 35%.

When asked what would motivate Malaysian drivers to make the purchase on an EV, they noted that reduced carbon emissions (45%), enhanced performance (42%), solid build quality (30%), built-in features (34%), and a slick style and look (21%) would be key in making the switch. With slim headlamp strips, minimal but characteristic lines and seamlessly integrated details, the latest fleet of vehicle from BMW i promises to deliver on all fronts – sustainability, performance, style, and technical features.

Government support and price remain key considerations for Malaysian drivers looking to make the switch to EVs.

Another key motivator is the level of support Malaysian drivers have from the government, as expressed by 45% of respondents. Indeed, the Energy Efficient Vehicles (EEV) incentive by the Malaysian government has been instrumental in driving the positive reception of BMW’s Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHEVs), such as the BMW 330e, the BMW 530e, the BMW X5 and the BMW 7 Series over the years. With progressive policies outlined in Budget 2022, promising full exemptions of import duty, excise duty, as well as sales tax for EVs, the future for EVs in Malaysia can now be realised. Indeed, closing the gap in pricing between EVs and traditional vehicles would be a motivator for the 45% of Malaysian drivers who have cited cost as a concern, according to the survey.

Besides that, BMW Group Malaysia’s partnerships with various stakeholders over the years have helped to rapidly expand the charging infrastructure across the nation. This development will further accelerate in the coming years, as the Group has further outlined its commitment at the recent NEXTGen Malaysia event, signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with partners Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), Siemens Malaysia and Malaysian Green Technology and Climate Change Corporation (MGTC) to further advance the EV ecosystem in the country. With that, Malaysians can expect more affordable EVs without disruption, especially as more EV players establish their presence in Malaysia, as a result of a maturing ecosystem.

“Increased support and confidence from key players in the industry will play a significant role in getting Malaysian drivers comfortable with making the switch over the next few years. As a market leader and pioneer in the Electric Vehicle space, we are committed to delivering innovation that will truly make a change in the Malaysian automotive landscape, while continuing to deliver Sheer Driving Pleasure,” added de Visser.  

The online survey which polled 4,000 drivers from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, with a target of at least 2,800 driver’s license holders specifically, was aimed at further understanding familiarity and preference toward EVs among Southeast Asian drivers. Other topics explored included attitudes toward the impact of EVs on the environment as well as factors that would motivate them to purchase an EV.

Infographic link here