- Document exchange details future collaborative efforts between PRO-NET and Gentari
- PROTON to also invest in other areas in effort to develop own-brand NEV
Subang Jaya, 13 October 2022 – National car maker PROTON’s new energy vehicle subsidiary, Proton New Energy Technology (PRO-NET) today exchanged MoU documents with Gentari Sdn. Bhd., the clean energy subsidiary of PETRONAS, at the International Greentech & Eco Products Exhibition & Conference Malaysia (IGEM).
The document exchange was performed between Zhang Qiang, Chief Executive Officer of PRO-NET, and Shah Yang Razalli, Head of Clean Energy Solutions Transition at PETRONAS on behalf of GENTARI. Witnessing the event were Dato’ Seri Ir. Dr Zaini Ujang, Secretary General, Ministry of Environment and Water, Dato’ Iskandar Bin Abdul Samad, Chairman, Malaysian Green Technology and Climate Change Corporation (MGTC), along with YM Datuk Tengku Muhammad Taufik, President and Group Chief Executive Officer of Petronas, and Roslan Abdullah, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of PROTON.
PROTON looking ahead to develop own-brand NEVs
After signing a general distributorship agreement with smart in August and announcing the formation of PRONET in September, the exchange of documents with Gentari is the next step taken by PROTON to establish its presence and add to the ecosystem in the national EV and NEV space. Initial plans are for the building of 20 DC chargers in 2023 where PRO-NET will be responsible to provide the charging location and power facilities while Gentari will be responsible in providing the charging infrastructure and operatorship solutions.
Aside from the development of charging infrastructure, PROTON is working closely with smart, via its subsidiary, to ensure their EV offerings match the usage profile of Malaysian EV buyers. At the same time, the company is also investing in growing its knowledge base in the field of NEVs by sending engineers to China to be trained in all aspects of the field.
“Today’s exchange of documents with Gentari addresses one piece of PROTON’s move into the NEV market and opens opportunities to collaborate with the clean energy subsidiary of PETRONAS to contribute to the buildup of Malaysia’s charging infrastructure. However, PROTON must pay equal attention to other areas of the business if we want to have a comprehensive business solution.
“For instance, as a national automotive brand PROTON should spearhead the development of Malaysia’s EV ecosystem by investing in knowledge and expertise to address potential blind spots in areas where we have little experience. So, we are sending 16 engineers to China for six months to be trained in R&D, vehicle performance, homologation, and testing with the aim of eventually developing and selling a homegrown NEV. This is an important step in supporting the government’s efforts to move Malaysia towards a knowledge-based economy and to be a regional epicentre for NEVs,” said Roslan Abdullah, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, PROTON.
Research into EV ownership shows a trend where users prioritise other areas compared to traditional car buyers. Connectivity, autonomous driving, and over-the-air updates are particularly important and as the servicing needs of such vehicles are also different, customers expect a new sale and after sale brand experience. PRO-NET is currently considering several options, and these range from traditional outlets to urban brand experience centres as well as using online portals to sell or lease the vehicles.
“Addressing the needs of EV and NEV customers in Malaysia will require the participation of many parties and collaboration between automotive industry players. This is especially true with regards to a charging infrastructure that addresses the needs of users throughout the country and PRO-NET will offer customers a comprehensive charging solution.
“We also foresee NEV customers having a different set of motivating factors compared to traditional car buyers and as such, we want to create a new experience that caters to their needs. Therefore, PRO-NET will actively recruit new dealers and welcome proposals for an innovative brand and transactional experience,” added Roslan Abdullah.