Affordable EVs in Malaysia – how cheap can electric cars be priced with zero import, excise and road tax?

Prospective electric vehicle owners, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for. Finance minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz announced during his Budget 2022 speech that the government is proposing to eliminate all taxes on EVs in Malaysia, including import and excise duties as well as road tax.

This is huge news, which will surely bring out the keyboard warriors saying, “Yes lah, I can buy a cheap EV soon!” But how cheap can these electric cars actually be? Let’s take a look at the prices of all the EVs on sale in Malaysia (there aren’t that many) and what their possible duty-free prices could be.

As you know, there’s one place in Malaysia where you can already buy cars sans import and excise duties, and that is Langkawi (well, Labuan too, but the island has the disadvantage of having to pay extra for transportion costs to East Malaysia). Of all the companies that sell EVs officially in Malaysia, only BMW and MINI openly publish their Langkawi prices, labelled as “duty free”.

Against their Peninsular prices, the cars are cheaper by around 15% for the recently-launched BMW iX3, 20% for the MINI Cooper SE and a full 25% for the more expensive BMW iX. We have no idea why the price difference varies so much between these three vehicles, but since those are all the numbers we have to work with, we’ll take the average, which is 20%.

We will now use this figure to calculate how much cheaper EVs could be priced in Malaysia with all taxes and duties removed. Let’s go.

Nissan Leaf – RM181,263 (estimated duty-free price RM145k)

The Nissan Leaf was one of the first electric vehicles to be introduced in Malaysia, making its debut as far back as 2013. The latest second-generation model was introduced in 2019 and is currently the cheapest EV on sale, priced at RM181,263.

A 20% reduction would put the car at around RM145,000, which is more attractive but still a little high for a car that has a a useable range only slightly above 200 km.

BMW iX3 – from RM317,360 (Langkawi price from RM270,360)

The BMW iX3 is Munich’s entry-level electric vehicle, based on the regular X3 SUV. While it’s not quite as “affordable” as the MINI Cooper SE, it is much more useable, with a more powerful 286 PS electric motor and a WLTP-rated range of 453 km.

The RM317,360 starting price is already a bargain, but slashing it to RM270,360 would make it the cheapest X3 variant on sale, comfortably undercutting the petrol sDrive20i.

BMW iX – from RM419,630 (Langkawi price from RM313,630)

This will probably be the one that grabs all the attention – the X5-sized iX, BMW’s flagship EV, could be priced as low as RM313,630 if the Langkawi pricing is any indication. 

That’s a significant saving of more than RM100,000 over the original RM419,630 starting price and actually undercuts the duty-paid pricing of the iX3. You do get less power and range, however, with 258 PS and 425 km at your disposal.

MINI Cooper SE – RM213,460 (Langkawi price RM168,790)

Those of you who enjoy the style and driving experience of a MINI but want a guilt-free, zero-emission experience can look to the MINI Cooper SE, which is priced at RM213,460 in Peninsular Malaysia but only RM168,790 in Langkawi. 

It has a zippy 184 PS electric motor but has even less range than the Leaf, doing just 232 km on a single charge – and that’s on the WLTP cycle.

Porsche Taycan – from RM584,561 (estimated duty-free price from RM468k)

Want something with a little more panache? The Porsche Taycan could be yours from just RM468k if we subtract our 20% from the current RM584,561 starting price. That’s for the base 326 PS rear-wheel-drive model with the smallest 79.2 kW battery providing a range of 431 km. 

You can get much more power and range (up to 625 PS and 484 km) if you want, plus a quasi-SUV wagon, but those things will cost you. A lot.

Hyundai Kona Electric – RM160k?

Although the Hyundai Kona Electric has yet to be launched in Malaysia, Hyundai-Sime Darby Motor (HSDM) has already teased the electric SUV, so a launch is imminent. 

Since we know a used model is being sold at RM180k, we can safely assume a new one will be priced around the RM200k mark. At 20% less, that brings it down to a possible RM160k. 

Tesla – from RM271k?

While Tesla is not officially available in Malaysia, parallel importer Vision Motor Sports does bring in some grey-market units and has a local price list. Assuming that the duty free conditions will be applicable to such importers as well, we can extrapolate the possible Tesla prices too. 

The company currently brings in the base Model 3 starting from RM339,000 for the Standard+ model, so a 20% drop will put it at around RM271,000. The discount would also drop the Model S from RM749,000 for the Long Range to around RM599,000 and a Model X from RM899,000 to around RM719,000. Under RM300,000 for the best-known badge in all of electric motordom? Sounds like a steal to us.

Honda e – RM168k?

We recently also reported about the Honda e that was brought in by Weststar, retailing at RM210,000. At a possible 20% less, that would put the adorable little tyke at around RM168,000. It has cutesy good looks and a lounge-like cabin, but it only has a range of around 220 km, so it’s not exactly practical.

So clearly, cheaper doesn’t actually translate to cheap. Sorry to burst your bubble. That’s just the way it is, unfortunately. EVs are generally more expensive than ICE cars, all over the world. 

Still, now that EVs will soon be more accessible, plus the fact that this development will surely mean that more and more car companies will look into introducing their EVs here, giving us more to choose from, will you be looking to buy an electric car soon?

By : Jonathan Lee – PAULTAN.ORG

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