How BYD will change the electric car market in Malaysia

There have been hot conversations around sustainability and EVs. Will EVs be a way of life in Malaysia? Will the infrastructure improve? Will we see more and more charging stations? We might just see quick change, especially with BYD fast becoming a choice. 1,000 units of the fully electric BYD Atto 3s were sold in April only after 100 days of being launched. Compare this to the BMW iX, another fully electric SUV that went on sale in 2021, which only hit the four figure mark in January 2023. With strong sales that continue to climb and as more electric cars hit the roads, how will this company change our electric car market?

BYD Atto 3, electric car

Democratising electric

The first thing someone might notice about the BYD Atto 3 is the price tag. Coming in at RM149,800, it is competitive with petrol SUVs like the HRV at RM114,800 and the Mazda CX-5 at RM138,000. This makes EVs a viable option for Malaysians. Before BYD’s entry into the market, fully electric cars come at premium prices, as seen with the BMW iX which comes in at RM546,800 or the Tesla Model 3 with an expected price of RM289,000.

With prices so competitive, it is of course unsurprising that the Atto 3 took off so quickly. This also suggests that Malaysians are not as wary of fully electric cars as previously thought. Based on current trends, it is likely more people will make the leap from petrol to fully electric with the BYD Atto 3 being the most affordable choice, possibly even skipping hybrid cars entirely.

Read more: A brief history of hybrid cars

Need to recharge

As electric cars become more ubiquitous, demand for charging points will increase. The lack of charging infrastructure may currently be a bottleneck that stops many from going electric, but the government plans to install 10,000 charging stations by 2025 with the help of the private sector. This means that there will be a charging station for every 3,300 Malaysians. This is roughly where Germany was in 2021, with 3,000 Germans allotted per charging station. Not a bad number and it will certainly make the transition to electric more practical for many!

Local competition

Proton Smart electric car
Proton’s electric car: Smart #1. Source.

As the Atto 3 continues to sell, local companies are racing to produce their own electric cars, with Proton moving the timetable forward from 2027 to 2025 and Perodua launching their first hybrid in 2024. Once local alternatives enter the market, EVs will no longer be known as expensive foreign goods. Electric cars will become more accessible to the general public and make electrification much easier. Looks like the Malaysian government’s plan to have 38% of the automotive market to be electrified may be achieved before the 2040 target.

Maintenance and repair

Currently, there is a dearth of expertise in servicing and repairing the unique components of an electric car. But over time electric car technicians and mechanics from established brands like BYD will strike out on their own. Be it working for an established workshop or starting their own business, workshops that repair electric cars will also become more commonplace. This will drive down maintenance costs of both used and new electric cars, as the original dealer will no longer be the sole source of car servicing.

Used electric cars

used cars
myTukar Certified cars on display

As BYD’s electric cars penetrate the car market, used electric cars will also become more common. With used cars generally being cheaper, it is expected that the number of people who can afford an electric car will increase as used electric cars hit the market.

All in all, BYD may end up being the electric equivalent of the Ford Model T, the first affordable automobile. Should the Atto 3 maintain its rapid growth, Malaysia’s automotive market would be overhauled, with every aspect of the industry adapting to the growing electric sector or be left behind.

If you are looking for an environmentally friendly ride but not an electric car, consider buying second hand cars! Their emissions have already been paid and they are myTukar Certified! So why not drive home a car that is As Good As New!

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