Published on July 3rd, 2023 | by Subhash Nair


EV-Specific Plates Are Probably A Good Idea For Malaysia

Would EV specific number plates be a good idea for the Malaysian market? We think so.

Last month, Minister of Transport Anthony announced that he had instructed JPJ to come up with more incentives to drive EV adoption in Malaysia. One of the suggestions made was the introduction of special plates for EVs. This would help differentiate EVs from petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles on the road and could be an incentive for quite a few buyers. As it stands, there are still quite a few EVs that share the same structure as their petrol/hybrid counterparts. The Volvo XC40 is a good example, as is the Mercedes-Benz EQA (shared body with 2nd generation Mercedes-Benz GLA) is another.

What to we think of EV Plates?

Well, special plates are a pretty lucrative business for JPJ. Just recently the ‘FF 9’ number plate was auctioned off for almost a million Ringgit. In 2020, the ‘PPP’ series of number plates raked in RM7.2 million for the road works department. This is valuable revenue that goes back into the maintenance of public roads.

JPJ plates

For JPJ to come up with special number plates for EVs with the purpose of incentivizing purchases… I’m not sure how that would work. From my understanding, many millionaires will spend ludicrous sums of money on special plates just to temporarily ‘park’ them on kapchais before moving it to a new luxury car. If these plates are EV only, there’s a chance that the ‘kapchai’ system would not work out unless some loopholes are jumped through. In which case, you might end up seeing non-EVs with EV-specific number plates.

YB Anthony alluded to ‘e-plates’ as a possible measure, but we feel this would involve overhauling the current system and may be too complex or expensive to be worth experimenting with.


However, in its basic form (no overhauling of the current number plate system) I do see it as potentially beneficial for at least two reasons.

The obvious one is as another cash-raising exercise. EV adoption has many obstacles in the way and some of these obstacles need to be solved by the public sector. JPJ could set a separate tabung and committee for money raised in e-bidding for EV plates. This committee would use the funds to improve the public charging infrastructure, help condos put up 1-2 DC Fast Charging stations, create battery recycling opportunities, etc.

The second way it could be beneficial is by helping bomba identify EVs. If JPJ is willing to give these plates a significant visual distinguishing mark such as a colour tag, it may be helpful in alerting bomba to the specific requirements needed to tackle the rare but difficult EV fire. I mean, it could be useful but only if the plate isn’t the first thing that completely melts away in the heat of a battery fire!

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Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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