Having said last year it would enter the electric vehicle (EV) market when the time is right, Proton has now offered a date as to when that will happen, as Bernama reports. According to deputy CEO Roslan Abdullah, the national automaker is planning to produce and launch its own EV by 2027.
He said that while the company’s EV roadmap started 10 years ago, it was not pursued due to market demand and technologies. He added that at present, the company has been discussing with potential partners on how to embark on the venture, saying Proton could not just jump into producing EVs without understanding how to sell and market the vehicles.
“So, this next five years (until 2027) will give us ample time to determine which technology is most acceptable, easy to maintain and affordable for consumers and us,” he told reporters following the Invest Malaysia Series 2: The Road to EV event held earlier today.
In the meantime, he said the company will continue to strengthen its EV capabilities and gain experience from its collaboration with smart Automobile. Proton has been appointed as smart’s distributor in Malaysia and Thailand, and is set to introduce the smart #1 in the country sometime in the fourth quarter of 2023 (Q4 2023).
The 2027 timeframe mirrors that intimated by Hong Leong Investment Bank (HLIB) in a research article earlier this year, in which it was ventured that the national carmaker would take minor steps into the hybrid segment and dive straight into full EVs by 2027.
In September, Proton established a new company called Proton New Energy Technology (Pro-Net) to handle sales and distributorship for smart vehicles as well as its own new energy vehicle (NEV) offerings in the future. It is through this channel that the automaker’s future EV – and possibly, mild hybrids – will make their way into the market.