Since the announcement of the 2022 Budget by the government, you are probably considering switching to an Electric Vehicle (EV) right now to get the benefit of all the tax exemptions that were offered. By now, most likely you have researched through several brands that you ‘potentially’ might want to switch to.
By now, you must have heard that the cost of charging your car is cheaper than fuel, is that the same case for us in Malaysia? Do note that our fuel is cheaper (& subsidized) compared to some other countries. So is charging EV still cheaper than fuel?
Let’s dive in!
How Much Does It Cost To Charge EV At Home in Malaysia
As you are aware, TNB’s tariff has its own category for each usage level. The higher your usage, the higher rate you are being charged for. The latest rate for residential from TNB (as of 1 Jan 2018) is as follow :
First 200kWh per month : RM0.218 sen/kWh
Next 201k – 300kWh per month : RM0.334 sen/kWh
Next 301k – 600kWh per month : RM0.516 sen/kWh
Next 601k – 900kWh per month : RM0.546 sen/kWh
Next 901kWh onwards per month : RM0.571 sen/kWh
For the sake of making the calculation ‘relevant’ for all, let’s take the maximum rate of RM0.571 sen/kWh for our calculation.
So if you own a car with 40kWh capacity (eg : Nissan Leaf), the cost of charging your car from 0% – 100% would be :
RM0.571 x 40 kWh = RM22.84
But of course, there will be energy loss during the charging process due to several factors, so let’s assume the loss is at 16%. Factor in the loss, the average cost to fully charge your car at residential rate would be :
RM22.84 x 116% = RM26.49
So the maximum charge for a residential home, to fully charge your Nissan Leaf would be approximately RM26.49.
Just for a little bit of fun, here’s the cost to fully charge other EV car that is available in Malaysia’s market.
Renault Zoe (22kWh) = RM14.57
Mini Cooper SE (29.8kWh) = RM19.74
Hyundai Kona (39.2kWh) = RM25.96
BMW i3s (42.2kWh) = RM27.96
Porsche Taycan (71kWh) = RM47.03
Tesla Model 3 (50kWh) = RM33.12
Petrol vs EV Cost Per Kilometer
According to Nissan’s official website, a fully charged Nissan Leaf could go up to 311KM. This means that for Nissan Leaf, you are paying RM8.51 per 100KM.
If you were to compare it to a combustion engine sedan car with a fuel efficiency technology (eco mode), Perodua Bezza could do 22KM per litre according to Perodua. With the price of RM2.05 per litre for a RON95 (as of 11/11/21), this means that the cost is approximately RM9.32 per 100KM.
But of course, it is not a fair comparison since Bezza’s horsepower is only 67 hp compared to Leaf’s 148 hp.
Therefore, comparing to Toyota Altis 1.8 (137 hp) makes more sense as it has a closer horsepower and still remains in the same sedan class. According to Toyota Altis’ booklet, the car could go up to 15.6KM per litre which translates to RM13.14 per 100KM.
So if you were to compare the cost per KM between Nissan Leaf and Toyota Altis, you are paying 54.4% more on the fuel for Toyota Altis.
This calculation is suitable for city-short distance use.
Different Cost If Using Public Chargers!
You have to understand that the above calculation is 100% based on you charging your car at your home. In reality, you are going to use the public charger, a Level 3 DC charger for long-distance trips that will be charged to you per-minute basis and a few annual subscription memberships to access these charge points. These shall be taken into account as your ‘charging’ cost too!
And the rate that you will be paying for these chargers would be higher than your home chargers, and your charging behaviour affects it greatly!
For example, charging your car on the 50kW DC JomCharge station would cost you RM1.20/minute. Assuming charging your car to 80% would take 30 minutes, that would have cost RM36, much higher than charging at home. Of course, if you try to fully charge your car, it would cost you much more!
However if you are subscribing to the ChargEV membership which will only cost you RM240 a year, your cost of charging is almost FREE! The annual membership is the only thing that you have to pay for (as of the writing of this article). But we all know that this is not permanent, so we can’t really use it as comparison.
Factor In Driving Behaviour, Traffic!
As we mentioned earlier, Level 3 DC Chargers would cost you more. But not only that, if you are using your car for city-drive with heavy traffic, you might save up more!
Unlike ICE cars, EV does not have an engine running while the car is idling. The motor do not operate when you are in a traffic jam. Your lights, air-conditioner and other electrical components are fully powered by the battery. And yes, it costs much less compared to a running engine!
According to an article by driving.co.uk, there was a case study done on a Volkswagen model being put in ‘idle’ with running air conditioning, stereo playing music and played a video in the rear seats for 1 hour, the battery only drained by 2%! This means that if you fully charge the 77kWh Volkswagen, it would take 50 hours to drain the car’s battery while the car is ‘idling’.
The Verdict, Petrol vs EV!
For the final verdict, does EV costs cheaper than fuel in Malaysia? The answer is YES.
But, do not expect savings of until 50% cheaper than fuel. Petrol price in Malaysia is cheaper (and subsidized) compared to some other countries, thus why the savings in fuel won’t be significant. But still, you will enjoy some savings around 20-30% compared to ICE cars. And on top of that, you will definitely save in the long run in terms of maintenance cost!