Socar and Tenaga Nasional partner up to use data to boost EV adoption, charging infrastructure in Malaysia

Socar Mobility Malaysia (Socar) and Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) recently announced a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that aims to speed up the adoption of electric vehicles in Malaysia and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, which is estimated to contribute around 21% of Malaysia’s 2016 CO2 emissions.

Both companies have worked together before, as back in December 2019, Socar added the Renault Zoe to its fleet. Customers are able to book a Zoe at selected locations within Cyberjaya, which have charging stations installed with the support of Tenaga Nasional.

The new MoU further expands the scope of the existing partnership, and will see TNB leverage on Socar’s data on vehicle usage and travel behaviour. This is to identify strategic locations along key travel routes to help determine the location, amount and type of chargers (including DC fast chargers) to be installed.

This will help improve the charging infrastructure in the country, which will support Socar’s own plan to expands its fleet by hundreds of EVs in the next two to three years. The car-sharing company will also increase the number of EV zones to 50 by the end of 2022.

With more EVs being made available to customers, Socar aims to make them more accessible price-wise, addressing the cost barrier that limits EV adoption. Through its database of car sharing usage, the company will also be able to determine which EV models should be rolled out, and in what locations.

According to Socar, Malaysia has a low EV penetration rate, with EVs accounting for less than 0.05% of the estimated 14.5 million registered private cars in the country. The company sees this as an opportunity to increase adoption through its car sharing model that will also help educate consumers on the ease of EV use.

“As a future-centric, tech-powered flex mobility provider, we are committed to driving the adoption of sustainable mobility. For us, this means using our platform and resources to enable more drivers to experience the benefits of driving an EV, thus helping them transition from conventional fossil-fuel powered cars,” said Leon Foong, CEO of Socar Mobility Malaysia.

“From talking to Malaysian drivers, we know it is crucial to enable EV use without owning one and to plug the gaps in the current EV charging infrastructure to overcome range anxiety among potential EV adopters,” he continued.

“We are pleased to once again work with TNB to introduce users to a seamless EV driving experience. In addition, our car sharing model also supports drivers who wish to own an EV, as they can generate income to offset ownership costs by listing their EV on our Trevo people-to-people car sharing marketplace,” Foong added.

Foong said EV owners had estimated that with the currently available charging infrastructure, a Nissan Leaf would take over 24 hours to drive approximately 1,000 km from Johor Bahru to Kota Bharu, including the time taken to recharge the vehicle.

Meanwhile, a MINI Cooper SE would take around 20 hours, with eight hours spent on charging alone. “To overcome this hurdle, each state in the peninsula will need to have 150 kW DC fast chargers in at least one key travel hub, to facilitate inter-city travel,” Foong explained.

TNB has already expressed its support for e-mobility in the country, and besides Socar, the company has partnered with DHL Express Malaysia and GreenTech Malaysia. “TNB is set to take a leading role in driving EV adoption in Malaysia, especially among fleet management operators, and one of the key steps to achieving this is by establishing more EV charging zones that would be utilised optimally based on known travel routes,” said Datuk Ir. Megat Jalaluddin Megat Hassan, chief retail officer at TNB.

“This recent collaboration with Socar is more extensive, compared to our initial partnership back in December 2019 when TNB became the enabler for Socar’s first two EV zones in Cyberjaya with the introduction of the first-ever EVs in their fleet. Together, we are confident in fostering more interest from other players in the EV infrastructure ecosystem to achieve a robust synergistic business environment that would benefit the EV community at large,” Megat added.

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