Electrification may be the hot new fashion, but not every brand is rushing into it. Take the two national automakers, Proton and Perodua. Both have said that their entry into the game won’t come so soon, and this was reiterated in an auto sector investor note issued recently by RHB Investment Bank.
In it, the investment bank indicated that Proton is expected to launch its first electric vehicle (EV) in 2027, while Perodua is set to unveil its first hybrid EV in 2024. No surprise with the first, which repeats what has already been stated by Proton, that it is planning to produce and launch its own EV by 2027.
The Perodua mention isn’t exactly a revelation either, at least not with regards to the particular format that will be adopted – the company has said from as far back as 2019 that its first steps into the new frontier would be made with hybrids, restating that again very clearly last November. What is new is the 2024 timeline for that journey to officially begin.
Officially, because it already has a hybrid presence about, through its unique leasing plan involving the Ativa Hybrid. In August last year, the carmaker had announced that it was bringing in 300 units of the Daihatsu Rocky e-Smart Hybrid for study and evaluation purposes, with the special by-invitation subscription programme for the rebadged vehicle aimed at gathering data over the course of a five-year trial period.
The report’s suggestion of a Perodua hybrid going on sale next year would put the Ativa Hybrid as the likely market debutant, given that it’s the only hybrid in Daihatsu’s portfolio right now, but it would seem rather odd to have a long-term leasing programme running alongside direct consumer sales of what is essentially the same car.
With Daihatsu having indicated last year it would be following up on the Rocky e-Smart Hybrid with other hybrid offerings, the planned vehicle could well be another model, but we’ll have to wait and see what pops up on the horizon.
As for Proton, the wait for electrification from it will take much longer. Like Perodua, it says cost observations are a big factor in how it proceeds, but unlike the former, the outline of what it will bring to the market remains undefined.
According to Proton deputy CEO Roslan Abdullah, the company is looking to ensure that it adopts the right technology at the right price. “Technology is always innovating. In two years, there may be competitors that come up with new technology for EVs and with a better price, so this (timeframe) gives us time to have a thorough study on both the technology and local market to find what is most acceptable, easy to maintain and affordable for consumers, and us,” he said back in November last year.