Thinking about owning an electric car in Malaysia? Electric cars are popular overseas, but the acceptance of electric cars in Malaysia is still low compared to conventional cars. What is the reason? Today, Qoala will briefly explain the advantages and disadvantages of electric cars in Malaysia.
The History of Electric Cars
Perhaps electric cars are not widely accepted by Malaysians now, but who are we to deny the future, right? With rapid technological development, it is not impossible for us to fully embrace electric cars.
Did you know that the first car ever created was an electric car? Its development began in 1832-1839 when Robert Anderson designed the first electric motor vehicle. The car was powered by a non-rechargeable battery and could reach speeds of 6 km/h.
However, during that time, the car’s efficiency was not very impressive. This was because walking was faster. Due to this, innovation was abandoned until today. Now, electric car technology has advanced significantly. Lithium-ion batteries are capable of providing sufficient autonomy that can enable cars to achieve high speeds.
Electric Car Components
If we compare the interior parts of an electric car to a conventional car, there isn’t actually much difference. Their operations are quite similar. Some of the main elements found in electric cars that are not present in conventional cars include:
As the name suggests, electric cars have an electric motor that converts the stored electric energy in the battery into kinetic energy. This kinetic energy powers the car to move. The motor can also work in reverse, converting kinetic energy into electrical energy and storing it in the battery, especially when driving downhill.
The drum stores the electrical energy that is used to power the car’s engine. Some electric cars have an additional battery to prevent them from getting stuck on the road.
The transformer in electric cars converts electrical parameters into what is needed to recharge the battery. Some electric cars run on alternating current, while others run on direct current. The transformer also cools the car, preventing spills and explosions.
Owning an Electric Car in Malaysia: Advantages of Electric Cars
There are many advantages to electric cars:
1. Environmentally Friendly
Driving an electric car means that you are emitting zero emissions or smoke. With the impact of global warming increasing daily, driving in a new way is playing an important role in helping to create a better environment for future generations by reducing the pollution caused by cars. Additionally, electric cars are quiet, reducing noise pollution.
2. Less Wear and Tear
Electric cars are battery-powered and do not require mechanical engine power. All the components involved in internal combustion engines are not required for electric cars. This means that electric cars can eliminate all maintenance costs for support components in internal combustion engines, such as spark plugs, oil filters, pumps, valves, and other spare parts in the long term. Only battery maintenance is required.
3. Suitable for Urban Driving
When it comes to driving in cities, traffic jams are common. While cars that use fossil fuel engines are more efficient on highways, electric cars are more suitable for urban driving in terms of performance and savings.
4. Fuel Savings
As many know, the operating cost of electric cars is cheaper compared to conventional fossil fuel engines. The cost per kilometer for driving an electric car is much lower. The battery is also easy to charge at home, and many corporate buildings and shopping centers offer free charging services.
5. Lower Maintenance Costs
According to Consumer Reports analyst Chris Harto, EV owners in the United States can save 50% on maintenance and repair costs compared to ICE vehicle owners. The study was conducted by collecting data on thousands of vehicles driven up to 200,000 miles or 321,000 km between 2019 and 2020. The average maintenance and repair costs for EVs and ICE vehicles per mile or 1.6km are as follows:
- EV: 0.03 USD (RM0.12)
- ICE: 0.06 USD (RM0.25)
The cost per kilometer for driving an EV is also much lower. For example, the Nissan Leaf model, with a 40 kWh battery capacity for an average distance of 295 km per full charge, costs only RM20.64 per full charge or RM0.07 per kilometer.
Shortcomings of Electric Cars
Despite their advantages, electric cars also have their shortcomings.
1. Limitations of Charging Station Infrastructure
One obvious drawback and challenge for electric car owners is the ability to charge the car in rural or remote areas.
For example, if you have to travel a long distance, it can be challenging because there may not be charging stations available in certain areas. This means that you need to plan your trip carefully to avoid being stranded on the side of the road without any help.
The same problem can affect drivers living in condos and apartments, as they may not have access to charging stations near their homes.
The lack of charging stations in certain areas can be a concern for potential electric car owners and can cause stress. It’s like buying an expensive mobile phone but having to charge it at a friend’s house who lives in a different residential area.
2. Inconsistent Range
For your information, every electric car has an estimated driving range set by the manufacturer and the government. But this number is actually difficult to achieve under real driving conditions.
The official range estimate is achieved through expert and patient test drivers in perfect conditions.
However, this doesn’t accurately reflect what real drivers experience after owning an electric car.
For instance, weather also plays a significant role in EV driving conditions. In cold temperatures, the driving range can decrease by up to 40 percent. EVs are also not the preferred vehicles for those who have to face snowy winters, as they require less aggressive driving to achieve maximum range.
3. Expensive Price
Electric cars are still relatively expensive and premium compared to internal combustion engine vehicles. Although the government offers rebates and discounts to buyers, the basic price of electric cars remains high and may not be affordable for ordinary buyers who prioritize practicality, intended usage, and budget.
4. Battery Recharging Time
For traditional gasoline-powered cars, refueling to continue the journey and prevent the engine from stalling only takes a few minutes. However, for electric cars, recharging the battery can take hours.
Although there are new technologies that allow battery recharging to take less than half an hour to fill 50 to 80 percent of the battery capacity, it’s still too slow compared to gasoline-powered cars that take less than three minutes to fill up the fuel tank.
Differences between Hybrid Cars and Electric Cars
Many people think that hybrid cars and electric cars are the same type of car. Actually, they are two different types of cars.
As we mentioned earlier, electric cars are a type of car that runs on an electric motor. The electric motor runs on power stored in the car’s battery. It relies entirely on electric power as the primary source of energy from the battery pack to drive the car.
One of the main reasons electric cars have not been widely adopted is the limited charging station infrastructure, especially in rural and remote areas.
Long-distance travel is one of the challenges that EV drivers have to face. They need to plan their journey well as remote areas are likely to have fewer charging stations compared to urban areas.
The same problem also affects drivers living in condominiums and apartments as there is no access to home charging stations. The lack of charging station availability can cause stress and concern for potential EV owners.
On the other hand, hybrid cars are a type of car that uses a combination of two systems, an internal combustion engine and electric power. The main engine of the hybrid still uses petrol as fuel, but it has an electric motor system that is automatically activated for fuel-saving operation of the hybrid system.
In general, the word “hybrid” means a combination of two different ideas. Hence, a hybrid car is a vehicle that uses more than one power source to move. It also refers to a vehicle that does not rely solely on battery or petrol power. However, it also depends on internal combustion that generates electricity for direct driving.
The problem of excessive fuel consumption and frequent battery charging is solved with a hybrid engine. The hybrid engine system can be an alternative that is more capable of solving engine saving and driving distance problems.
The hybrid system is also developed based on several concerns often raised by potential new vehicle owners regarding their minimum desired criteria, such as:
- Whether the car can be driven at least 450km with a full tank of petrol before refilling;
- The driving must be smooth and easy;
- The car must be able to maintain speed and overcome other cars on the road;
- The fuel is easy to refill;
- Offer good fuel efficiency;
- Less air pollution.
The combination of electric power and internal combustion allows the battery of the hybrid car to be charged directly while driving. It can also be recharged when needed. This proves that hybrid cars can reduce air pollution while providing more mileage.
So, Should You Buy an Electric Car?
An electric car is suitable for those who frequently drive in urban areas. This is because it not only saves petrol costs but also helps reduce air pollution. However, if you need a car that travels frequently from one distant place to another, a conventional car is more suitable. This is because the driving power of a conventional car is higher than that of an electric car.
That’s all for Qoala’s sharing. Don’t forget, if you want to renew your car’s road tax and insurance, just do it at Qoala. Easy, affordable, and fast!