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I Hope Tesla Is Seriously Looking At Malaysia & Similar Markets

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Tesla recently started selling its electric vehicles in Thailand. The company has received over 5,000 orders in just a few days since launch! This goes to show that there is great demand for EVs in these kinds of markets. The Tesla Model 3 starts from about $50,000 in Thailand. Tesla has also been selling its vehicles in Singapore since last year. The company started with the Model 3 there and followed that up with the launch of the Model Y in the middle of this year. The Model Y has made up over 80% of all Tesla vehicle sales in Singapore over the last 3 months. The number of Tesla registrations in Singapore for September, October, and November were 242, 40, and 85, respectively. There are now over 1,700 Teslas in Singapore.

Looking at the awesome start for Tesla in Thailand, and its presence in Singapore, I started to wonder when Tesla may enter the Malaysian market. As Tesla continues to ramp up production at several sites, plans to expand into more emerging markets and other new markets should hopefully be accelerating. Malaysia could be another new option to consider fast tracking an entry.  Earlier this year, CleanTechnica reported that Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said he wanted Tesla to open a plant in Malaysia. He invited several Fortune 500 companies, especially Tesla, to invest in his nation. This shows that there is appetite and support for Tesla to come to Malaysia from the highest offices. Already, there are a reported 350 Teslas in Malaysia according to Daren Yoong, all unofficial imports from right-hand drive markets where Tesla has a presence.

One of these independent bodies importing Teslas is the Malay Vehicle Importers and Traders Association of Malaysia (PEKEMA). PEKEMA plans to import at least 500 Teslas a year, buoyed by the recent removal of road tax, sales tax, and excise and import duty for electric vehicles in Malaysia. The Malaysian government has moved to catalyse that adoption of EVs, giving 100% duty exemption for completely built electric cars up to December 31, 2024. They have also put in place 100% duty exemption for completely knocked down kits for electric cars for local assembly up to December 31, 2025. The move has had an instant impact — up to the end of 2021, there were only about 500 EVs in Malaysia; there are now over 2000 EVs in Malaysia as of November 2022. That’s a decent spike in the number of EVs in the country.

Image courtesy of Daren Yoong

Malaysia is generally a much larger market for vehicles than Singapore (about 500,000 ICE vehicles per annum for Malaysia vs  about 90,000 to 110,000 per annum for Singapore). It should be fairly easy for sales in Malaysia per month/year to at least match Tesla’s Singapore figures.

In a recent video, Daren Yoong discusses the state of the country’s EV market with the president of Malaysia’s Zero Emission Vehicle Association (ZEVA). The discussion notes that it is quite a process for an OEM to go through all the stages/procedure to get clearance to operate in the market. However, it is not really an insurmountable  process. I hope Tesla has already progressed a bit on this journey and surprises us with an announcement in the near future. We need the world to transition to electric mobility as soon as practically possible. It would be good for the big boys in the EV game such as Tesla to open up in more new markets soon and displace a lot of potential ICE vehicle sales in more places around the world.

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Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has been fascinated with batteries since he was in primary school. As part of his High School Physics class he had to choose an elective course. He picked the renewable energy course and he has been hooked ever since. At university he continued to explore materials with applications in the energy space and ending up doing a PhD involving the study of radiation damage in High Temperature Gas Cooled Nuclear Reactors. He has since transitioned to work in the Solar and Storage industry and his love for batteries has driven him to obsess about electric vehicles.


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