HomeAutomotiveThe Cost of Owning & Driving an EV in Malaysia

The Cost of Owning & Driving an EV in Malaysia

Electric Vehicles (EVs) are all the craze as the future of green transportation. What’s not to love about electric vehicles? They’re better for the environment, they’re cheaper to operate, and they’re just plain cool. Automakers are all putting their chips in ‌electric vehicle technology, and it’s only a matter of time before EVs are the dominant force in the automotive market. The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that by 2030, 60% of the vehicles sold globally will be electric, and demand for built-in home chargers will surge drastically. 

As of to date, EVs are still in their infancy stage with only a handful of models available in the Malaysian market. The high cost of entry is still a turnoff for a lot of consumers, but as battery technology continues to improve and costs continue to fall, it’s only a matter of time before EVs are the new normal. If you’re looking to make the jump from an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle to an EV, this short and simple guide will help you crunch some numbers on the ownership of one. 

Initial Cost

Teslas are the most luxurious EVs you can own in MalaysiaThe hefty initial cost of EVs currently brands itself as toys for the rich. Nonetheless, to encourage more people to buy EVs in Malaysia, the government has extended the exemption of import duties on CBU electric vehicles till 2024 and is offering a rebate of up to RM30,000 for locally assembled EVs. However, even the cheapest EV offered in the market, the 2022 Ora Good Cat costs under RM140K. In contrast, there is a myriad of other petrol-powered cars on the market to choose from, with some economy cars going for much less than that. But what about the road tax? Are EVs subjected to road taxes even if they don’t run on a single drop of oil?

How is Road Tax Calculated for EVs

Is road tax for EVs cheaper than ICE cars in Malaysia? As we all know, road taxes for ICE cars are calculated using cubic centimeters (CC). For EVs, on the other hand, it is calculated by kilowatt (kW) output. Here’s a table we compiled from JPJ’s data.

For company and privately owned saloons (sedans) with a power output of 80 kW and below:

Motor Output Rates
50 kW and below RM 20
Above 50 kW to 60 kW RM 44
Above 60 kW to 70 kW RM 56
Above 70 kW to 80 kW RM 72

It’s quite simple for cars with under ‌80 kW of output. However, for higher-powered cars above 80 kW, a base rate and a progressive rate of 0.05 kW from the base output are imposed into the road tax’s calculations:

Output Base Rate Progressive Rate
80 – 90 kW RM 160 RM 0.32 for every 0.05 kW increase from 80 kW
90 – 100 kW RM 224 RM 0.25 for every 0.05 kW increase from 90 kW
100 – 125 kW RM 274 RM 0.50 for every 0.05 kW increase from 100 kW
125 – 150 kW RM 524 RM1.00 for every 0.05 kW increase from 125 kW
Above 150 kW RM 1024 RM1,024, and RM1.35 for every 0.05 kW increase from 150 kW


One of the many EV charging stations in office parking lots Refueling and recharging are other concerns for ICE cars and EVs. Petrol cars refuel in just a few minutes, while EVs may take around 20 minutes to reach full charge with a DC (direct current) fast charger. In addition, unlike ICE cars, EV batteries need meticulous care, as we’ll explain below. But first, it is important to understand the types of EV chargers out there.

Read More: How to Charge Your EV in Malaysia

Alternating Current Charging (AC) 

One of the many AC charging sockets for EVs in MalaysiaAC charging is the most common type of charging for EVs and is often referred to as Level 1 or Level 2 charging. Level 1 charging can be done via a standard household electrical outlet in your home and would take around 8 to 20 hours to reach a full charge depending on your vehicle’s battery size. Level 2 charging, on the other hand, uses a dedicated 240-volt outlet and can take anywhere from four to eight hours to reach a full charge. ‌AC charging may be a convenient choice; however, the limitations of an AC charger would require the installation of a dedicated charging outlet at home. 

According to Carput, installing such a device would cost around RM3,000 – RM5,000 for a 7kW and RM5,000 – RM7,900 for a 22kW one excluding the labor costs to install and the renovations required to upgrade from a single-phase to a three-phase wiring system if your house does not have the necessary infrastructure. 

Installing a charge station at home for EVs in MalaysiaFurthermore, a dedicated charging outlet can only be installed in a landed house. This option is not available if you’re staying in an apartment in Malaysia, as the decision to install an EV charger is up to the apartment developer or management body. AC charging may be slow, but it’s the best way to preserve the lifespan of your battery, unlike DC charging. 

Direct Current Charging (DC)

A DC Socket for EVs in MalaysiaDC charging is a faster and more powerful alternative that can fully charge an EV in as little as 30 minutes. This type of charging is often referred to as Level 3 or fast charging as it uses direct current to charge the battery. These types of chargers are not commercially available to be installed in homes; rather, they can be found at dedicated public charging stations.

DC charging stations are an ideal option for long-distance travel or for those needing a quick charge on the go. The downside of DC charging, however, is that relying too much on it can hurt the lifespan of your EV’s battery, which is the costliest part to replace out of the whole car, which we will get to later. 

Here’s a quick and simple comparison of the current recharging rates for EVs and RON95 prices.

  • RON95 –  RM2.05 per liter
  • Electric – 60 sen per kilowatt

As of to date, a handful of charging stations have been built around the Klang Valley area. If pay-per-use is too much of a hassle, companies like ChargeNow offer subscription packages at RM240 a year. Even Shell has ‌a subscription model for their own charging stations. If RM835 for a yearly subscription sounds too much for you, you can opt for a pay-as-you-go option with RM4 to unlock the charging bay and a rate of RM20 for every five minutes of charge. Petronas’ Gentari fast chargers offer a rate of RM2.20 per minute and ChargeNow, exclusive to BMW owners, offers an RM240 annual subscription. 

Tires & Maintenance

What about tires? Did you know that you can’t just use the same tires used in ICE cars? EV tires are specially designed to be stiffer, heavier, and have more contact on the road. They also run quieter than regular tires. These do not come cheap. EVs typically run on 19 – 21 inch tires. With such a large diameter and specialized compound, you’ll spend around RM10,000 to replace the tires on a Kia EV6! As of to date, the only way to get original OEM tires for EVs is via the dealership you bought your vehicle from and they cost a pretty penny. Be careful of driving near construction sites!

Read More: Hybrid Cars Might Be the Only Way Petrol Engines Can Survive in the Future

One of the few tires used on EVs in Malaysia

Repairs & Servicing 

Servicing an EV in Malaysia typically has no hassleIf an EV breaks down, do you go to an electrician or a mechanic? As of now, EVs require almost zero maintenance on the motor itself. A conventional ICE car has hundreds of parts that must work together, while an electric motor typically has less than 20. The fewer moving parts involved, the easier the maintenance is. EVs don’t require oil changes, spark plugs, or timing belts, which can save money and time.

The only wear and tear aspects of an EV would be the brake pads, tires, and eventually, the battery. Brake parts are only required to be changed once every five years and the tires need to be rotated once in a while to ensure proper alignment. The Achilles heel of all EV owners is battery replacement, which is also the most expensive part of the whole EV production. However, with an estimated lifespan of 10 years or 160,000km before battery degradation sets in, how much can you expect to fork out for a replacement? 

Battery replacement will soon be a challenge for EVs in MalaysiaLet’s take the Tesla Model S, for example. Owners in North America have reported that without a warranty, a full battery replacement can cost around USD 20,000 (RM 87,101.27)! This article by DSF goes into more detail about repairing and maintaining a Tesla if you have bought a reconditioned model in Malaysia. Closer to home, a battery replacement for the Nissan Leaf that is officially sold in Malaysia can cost up to RM30,000. With these ridiculous prices, will we see used EVs going for cheap in the future?

Read More: Will Electric Self-Driving Cars Be Feasible in Malaysia?

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