We all know the many benefits of driving electric vehicles (EV).
Among the benefits includes cleaner environment, lower running cost, reduced in noise pollution and a high possibility of increased resale value.
Sarawak has taken a step forward in promoting environmental sustainability for a healthier and cleaner environment when we introduced its first electric bus services to members of the public on March 2021, covering 54 stops from the State Legislative Assembly building to Semenggoh Wildlife Centre.
It is noted that Sarawak will see more EV on the road from 2030 to 2050 as it is predicted that many industry players will shift business from fossil fuel-based engines to electric and hydrogen-based ones.
The launching of Multifuel Refuelling Station at Darul Hana, Kuching earlier in April this year, marked how serious Sarawak is in advocating for green economy.
The Sarawak Premier also said that a second multifuel station is currently being built in MJC Batu Kawah, Kuching and many more will be built throughout the State along the Pan Borneo Highway and coastal highway.
On the national level, the government supports the development of EVs and their ecosystem in the country.
The government has offered incentives in the form of direct and indirect tax relief for the assembly or manufacturing of EV, component parts, and the development of EV ecosystems such as charging facilities.
During his official address in Parliament, finance minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said that the government sees the potential of EVs to help reduce air pollution.
By promoting the use to more EVs on the road, Malaysia can achieve a net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emission by 2050.
Hence, to support the development of the local EV industry, EVs user would generally enjoy benefits in terms of direct incentives either in the form of road tax, green parking scheme, charging installation as well as toll rebates.
Industry players also have a huge part in promoting the use of EV.
Earlier this year, the country launched its first locally-assembled EV, the Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 AWD.
Aside from that, the public can expect to see infrastructure such as charging stations across the country to support electric vehicles, as part of Malaysia’s drive towards decarbonisation.
While we are well aware that the world has escalated the adoption of EVs due to the alarming rate of global warming and climate change, the main question is, how ready are we to cater to EV?
If Malaysia, including Sarawak were to see a rise in the use of EVs, then the target market would theoretically encompass all income groups which are the B40, M40 and T20.
However, it is a known fact that EVs are expensive as the price of one EV can cost you more than RM150, 000 each and thus, is seen as a luxury car for most people.
And with the current unstable economic circumstances and the prospect for securing a stable job opportunity in the midst of a pandemic, might seem to be less of a priority for a cleaner environment.
So, instead of this, we should have more EVs as public transportation such as the bus take travels to more routes.
As of now, Sarawak has four unit of electric buses available in Kuching.
Another reason is that drivers will face a lot of challenges such as the mass availability of charging stations so that they can travel on the road and perhaps on long distance.
For long distance journeys, drivers might need to recharge even though they have charged their vehicles overnight.
For this, perhaps one of the alternatives for mass adoption on EVs in the future is to install one charging station in each household.
Another reason why the adoption of EVs might be a challenge is the charging time.
To fully charge an EV, it can take several hours to do so. Therefore, to avoid time wastage, many would still perhaps opt for the conventional cars for now.
While it seems like we are still far ahead from the mass adoption of EVs, this does not mean that the idea cannot be materialise in the future as now the public is becoming more environmentally aware and realise the importance of adopting green alternatives and economy in their lives.