Published on January 6th, 2022 | by Amirul Mukminin0
Nation’s First EV Plant Set To Be Built In Melaka
So far, no timeline for its construction has been given
It looks like Malaysia will be getting its electric vehicle plant after all. According to a Bernama report, Bumiputera company Fieldman EV Sdn Bhd will make an investment of RM1 billion for the development of the country’s first EV assembly plant in Melaka.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali confirmed that the plant will be built on a 200-hectare plot of land at the Elkay Lipat Kajang Industrial Area in Jasin. He added that Fieldman EV has also acquired exclusive rights for the distribution of Changan Automobile’s EVs in Malaysia and other right-hand drive markets in the Southeast Asian region.
Speaking to reporters, Sulaiman said, “Fieldman EV intends to launch EVs and is interested to build an assembly plant in Melaka, together with local companies by utilising Changan’s technology. The state government welcomes this cooperation which will provide long-term benefits by further strengthening the development of the automotive industry in Melaka.”
Sulaiman said the factory would also provide 5,000 new job opportunities and create a downstream industry among the local automotive industry. He also believes that the plant would enable the transfer of EV technology that will further boost Melaka’s economy.
While it is good that we are finally getting our first EV plant after being looked over by Tesla, we can’t help but wonder why was Melaka chosen as the site for the plant?
Also, what was the reason Changan decided to enter the Malaysian EV market through Fieldman EV? Of course, it is not uncommon for a company to form a strategic collaboration with local business partners to penetrate a foreign market but this is usually done with those who have a proven track record.
According to the Fieldman Group website, Fieldman EV was established in 2018 as a subsidiary company that “hunts for renewable energy resources that can be brought into Malaysia.” In the same year, the company struck an agreement with Big Blue Taxi Facilities Sdn Bhd to deliver 20,000 electric taxis to drivers registered under Big Blue by 2020.
Big Blue founder Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail said the project required an investment of RM200 million. The vehicles would be built to adapt to local conditions and two experts from China were brought in to study the requirements, he added.
And then, in early 2019, Fieldman EV signed an agreement with Changan to bring several new EV models to Malaysia for an e-hailing company. Whether those EVs were meant for Big Blue or not is anyone’s guess but we can safely say that the project seems to be dead in the water now.
Will this EV plant project face a similar fate? It’s too early to tell but for the sake of Malaysia’s EV industry, let’s hope not.