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Tesla’s Application To Import BEVs Into Malaysia Approved

Last year, I wrote an article where I stated that I really hope that Tesla is looking into Malaysia and similar markets. Tesla recently started selling its electric vehicles in Thailand. The company received over 5,000 orders in just a few days in Thailand after the 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. They started with the Model 3 there and followed that up with the launch of the Model Y in the middle of last year.

There is already a growing fleet of Tesla vehicles in Malaysia, all of them grey imports, imported directly by EV enthusiasts and Tesla fans. There are reportedly 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 that are 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 the 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. As of November 2022, there are over 2,000 EVs in Malaysia. That’s a decent spike in the number of EVs in the country.

Now, in some very exciting news, Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) has announced that it has approved Tesla’s application to import battery electric vehicles into Malaysia. MITI says Tesla will now proceed to establish:

  1. An Office
  2. Tesla Experience and Service Centres
  3. A Supercharger Network

MITI also says that Tesla is the first applicant of MITI’s BEV Global Leaders Initiative, aimed at boosting BEV demand in the country. Malaysia’s Minister of International Trade & Industry, Tengku Zafrul, welcomed the development and said this will help create skilled and better paying jobs for Malaysians.

It’s really great to see Tesla getting into another market in the region. Malaysia is generally a much larger market for vehicles than Singapore (about 500,000 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. I hope we start seeing more of these announcements more frequently. As Tesla continues to ramp up production of its current models, hopefully it has more room to service more new markets soon.

Tesla has plans to sell over 20 million EVs per year globally in the medium to long term. Opening up more markets, especially in emerging markets, along with the expected more affordable next-gen vehicle, will help the company get there. Exciting times ahead!

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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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