Published on June 10th, 2024 | by Subhash Nair


Volvo PHEVs The Secret Winner Of This New Road Tax Fomulation

The new EV road tax formulation is great, but it has created a new absurdity specific to Volvo PHEVs.

Last week, the Ministry of Transport finally revealed the structure for EV road tax in Malaysia starting 2026. Even after a quick look at the numbers, it’s clear that the new structure is very generous to EV owners, topping out at RM6,715 per annum for the most powerful EV currently on sale here – the Porsche Taycan Turbo GT. What’s more, where Volvo C40 users would have had to pay RM4,503 annually to run their high-powered compact crossover, the new structure dictates that they only pay RM545 a year – less than what a Mustang EcoBoost owner has to worry about. Even at the lower extreme things are pretty good for EV owners. A Nissan Leaf with healthy horsepower and torque numbers is subject to just RM80 a year – less than a Myvi has to pay.

Unfortunately now the absurdities of our petrol/hybrid/diesel road tax structure are even more apparent and a secret “winner” caught between the old ICE road tax structure and the new EV road tax structure are the latest Volvo PHEVs.

EV road tax doesn't affect Volvo PHEV

What do we mean by this? Well, let us explain simply. Just bear in mind that petrol and hybrid vehicles have their road tax calculated by engine displacement (cc) while EVs have their road tax calculated by system output (kW). Think of kW as the international standardised unit for horsepower.

The most common BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo ICE/hybrid models sold in Malaysia are powered by 2.0L engines. These have power outputs ranging from 137kW to well over 339kW and incur an annual road tax of RM380. So most premium car owners you see pay about this much annually as long as their cars is privately registered in peninsular Malaysia.

As for EVs, as long as your system output is under 250kW, you’re paying less than RM380. In a vast majority of cases (even when comparing against Mercedes-Benz and BMW PHEVs), EV owners are going to pay lower annual road tax. Here is a table to illustrate

VehicleTypePriceTotal System Output (kW)Annual Road TaxkW per Ringgit
Hyundai IONIQ 6 Max AWDEVRM319,8882393650.65
BMW 320iPetrolRM263,6001373790.36
BMW 330ePHEVRM278,6002153790.57
Mercedes-Benz C350ePHEVRM338,888230379.50.61
Volvo S60 Recharge T8PHEVRM315,888303.5364.50.83

It’s a double edged sword for EV owners who want to be picky. The vast majority will be getting a ‘good deal’ out of this new system as they’ll be paying less road tax than your typical 320i owner but getting more power. Plus they are buying cars that are currently not getting hit by import tax and excise duties.

a volvo s60 from the rear

That being said, it’s pretty clear that a Volvo PHEV is extracting much more “kW per RM” on road tax than an equivalently priced EV. Whether or not total system output on a PHEV can be relied in such a comparison, we’ll leave that up to you to decide.

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

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