Aiming to make EVs feasible

Who should build the charging stations for electric vehicles?

That's a question with no clear answers as Malaysia gropes its way towards the day when electric cars will gradually become a serious alternative to conventional petrol-fuelled cars.
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A GE DuraStation charger on display. Chargers automatically switch off the power after the battery is fully charged.
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It could fall on the Government to do it at least in the beginning to get the ball rolling or the private sector. Or it might even be a joint venture between the Government and private enterprises. The options are open.

What charging standards to adopt to ensure charging points can be used on as many EVs as possible irrespective of brands is also another pressing question that must be answered before the first EV is deployed on the road.

These were among the issues and challenges raised at the GE-Naza Electric Vehicle Experience on May 29.

Two left-hand drives Chevrolet Volt were shipped in for the event to highlight not so much the car as the charging stations General Electric (GE) supplies.

Guests  and  customers  were  given  the  chance  to  test-drive  the Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid that General Motors is marketing as an electric vehicle.

Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water Datuk Sri Peter Chin said the EV Masterplan, a standalone plan separate from the revised National Automotive Policy, to be announced by 2013 will serve as a blueprint towards achieving 10% EVs in the market by 2020 and the reduction of carbon emissions by 40% by that year.

EVs symbolised a new product where three industries converge - the transportation industry, power industry and ICT industry, he said, adding that it opens up a whole new range of opportunities for creating wealth for Malaysians especially in downstream activities.

Chin also said the Government could only do so much by introducing new policies and incentives, and it was up to automakers, battery technology developers, component suppliers, utility companies, property managers, retailers and consumers to make the EV ecosystem work.

GE Asean CEO Stuart Dean said clean energy was profitable with revenue  from  it exceeding US$21bil (RM65bil). 

"This growth is twice as fast as the company average."

Dean also said Thailand showed the most promise in the region for EV deployment followed closely by Malaysia based on population size and how serious the governments are in reducing carbon footprint.

Dr Horizon Gitano-Briggs, a mechanical engineering professor  of Universiti Sains Malaysia, highlighted the benefits of adopting an Asean-wide  standard in laying the EV infrastructure, saying that this would allow service providers to tap into a regional market of 650 million people, the third biggest market in the world.

He also said it was important for the authorities to proactively develop standards in anticipation of commercial needs.

The professor was among a group of experts who spoke about the EV industry. Among them were Naza Quest COO Datuk Maruan Mohd Said and Malaysia Green Technology Corporation CEO Dr Nazily Mohd Noor.
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Dr Gitano-Briggs summarising the guidelines to set standards in the EV industry.

GE  and  Naza signed a  Memorandum  of Understanding  last year, in which both parties agreed to work together in joint-lobbying  and  education  to  raise  public  and  government awareness,  exploit GE technologies in Naza’s electric vehicle manufacturing line, and running electric vehicle pilot tests in several cities across Malaysia. 

GE offers a wide band of products and services that cater to the EV infrastructure –  ranging  from  charging stations  and  software  solutions,  as  well  as  circuit protection equipment and transformers.

GE had also secure the help of Malaysia Green Technology Corporation, a  government  agency  under  the  ministry, to raise public awareness on green technology.

The  GE-Naza  Electric  Vehicle  Experience was  also  held as  part  of  the  2012  GE  Innovation  Day  to  showcase  GE’s innovative  solutions  co-created  with  local  industry  partners.
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These are the EV chargers that GE makes for outdoors and home use.

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