Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hybrid Vehicles in Malaysia?

Toyota Prius Hybrid Vehicle

In response to the gasoline price hike on June 5, a reader wrote to The Star, accusing Malaysian government for not introducing gas-electric hybrid vehicles to the country.

Hybrid vehicles, as we know, are generally very fuel efficient. Unfortunately, they are also pricier than vehicles that run on conventional engines. In the U.S., it is said that hybrid vehicles have a “$3,000 price premium” over comparable conventional vehicles. When the gasoline price in Malaysia was at RM1.92/liter, nobody, save for some die-hard environmentalists and celebrities, would ever consider owning them.

Even at RM2.70/liter, I seriously doubt they are economical for the majority of us. In order to save enough on fuel to offset the “price premium”, you probably need to drive over 2,000 km every month, mostly in city. Hybrid vehicles are most suitable for driving in the city, where traffic is stop-and-go.

In some countries, governments boost their image by buying green vehicles for official use. Unfortunately, Malaysia has a few “national car makers” which haven’t ventured into the hybrid technology yet. Don’t bet that our government will do the same thing.

So, will hybrid vehicles ever become main stream in this country? We are not completely hopeless. If the gasoline price breaches the RM3.00 per liter level, the car dealers may have incentive to import hybrid vehicles. Also, as the technology matures, and as the car makers achieve “economies of scale”, the price of hybrid vehicle should come down. Maybe one of you will be driving a Toyota Prius within the next 5 years.


  1. it is just too far away... >.<"

    first they said all must put the safety belt, which also limit the passengers in a car...
    some complained abt this
    and they said: buy a bigger car...

    just when u were considering buying a bigger car to accommodate all ur family members and provide them each with a safety belt when travelling... (considering a normal family with two kids, and grand parents, they will never be able to go out together if the only car they have is a normal salon car)
    the petrol price shot up !!

    so now what ? @_@

  2. 迷迭香
    Don't worry, the government is not going to force us to buy hybrid vehicle.

    Yes, the seat belt ruling can be inconvenient. Kids no longer can sit on adults' laps...

  3. Let's import and sell in Malaysia! You got APs?

  4. this kind of car is nice, save petrol and make the environment green

  5. 说到汽车价格,我国油价已不可避免要跟着国际油价自由浮动(政府说人民得学会适应),那几时汽车价格会跟着国际车价“自由浮动”?嗯~

  6. neo
    No hope. Honda and Toyota will export via their local subsidiaries.

    Then you should write a letter to Toyota, ask them to sell Prius here.

    Good idea! But I think green vehicles should get tax break lah...

  7. i think saving up enough for the hybrid car itself will kill us lah

  8. xin
    I believe environmentalists and the rich and famous won't mind.

    I read in newspaper that two Britons who live in Malaysia imported a Prius from UK, and pay import duty of more than RM100,000!

  9. How coincidental. I just had a conversation with a visiting colleague from the US over lunch about this very same topic, hybrid cars.

    Even though he was lamenting about the gas price, he said he is not for hybrid cars for some reasons. He and his wife have a pact. He will not get a sportscar and she will not get a hybrid car. Interesting arrangement.

  10. happysurferi
    Hybrid vehicles are not for everyone.

  11. I doubt that, as our government never really cares about the environment.

  12. jam
    Not only that the government doesn't care about the environment. They must take care of 'local interests' too. Employees or 'national car makers' are voters too.

  13. well, i am all for hybrid in the name of environment. we are going to drive no matter what... might as well save the environment while at it.

  14. zewt
    I respect you! You are really green-minded. As for myself, I will study the economy before making decision. I don't drive a lot.

  15. the hybrids currently avail in msia is way too expensive to consider. but if prices (oil) go up some more, then it maybe worth considering later on :)

  16. quachee
    That's why I haven't complained about the petrol price hike. But I do complain about people who profiteer.