For some parts of the Klang Valley, electric vehicles (EVs) are part of the scenery these days. You might have friends talking about it, EVs are mentioned in the media, and if you’re a follower of this website, you’d have noticed that brands are all rushing to offer electric vehicles that are, for now, duty-free. And because of the latter, EVs look like great value next to their petrol-powered counterparts.
It seems like electric propulsion is gaining serious momentum in Malaysia. But you have your doubts. And why wouldn’t you? The technology that batteries are replacing – the internal combustion engine (ICE) – is far from broke. For the record, we acknowledge the environmental benefits of EVs – this is just from a typical consumer standpoint.
ICE, and the process of refuelling your car at a petrol station, has been tried and tested over generations. On the other hand, charging an EV is far from straightforward. “Malaysia lacks the infrastructure” is a common line. Also, despite the incentives, EVs are (generally) expensive. And that’s before considering resale value. RV is based on trend, and EV technology is still developing.
A perennial top concern when it comes to EVs is charging. Range anxiety is common, and it’s also true that EVs are not meant for every lifestyle. But for many urban households, there should be minimal adjustment needed, if at all.
Of the current EVs on sale in Malaysia, the lowest real-world range is below 200 km. That’s barely enough for a weekend of food hunting and shopping, never mind going outstation. You’ll spend less time worrying about charging when you’re in the EQA 250, which has a range of 496 km on the WLTP cycle. Meanwhile, the EQS 500 has a range of nearly 700 km, which makes interstate travel a luxurious, anxiety-free affair.
In truth, EVs work best if you have access to a permanent charging spot, be it at home or at the office (a complimentary wallbox is exclusively offered with the EQS). The required behaviour shift is home charging. Public chargers should be a secondary source of juice, when you’re away from home or need a quick top-up. However, it seems like many EV doubters only focus on public charging infrastructure, or rather the perceived lack of it.
On that front, things have improved exponentially in recent times. Currently, there are over 1,000 public charging stations nationwide, and the number is increasing as we type, with many more locations on the way. One can use PlugShare to locate chargers that are available around you or your destination.
There are a couple of big players in the local EV charging business, and the good news is that they recently joined hands to allow cross-access charging across all platforms. This means that users of Setel, JomCharge and chargEV apps will soon have full access to a combined network of over 600 chargers in Malaysia.
Yes, we could do with more DC fast chargers, especially outside the Klang Valley, but the big players are expanding their networks it as we speak. In any case, if you have access to home charging, ‘refuelling’ is as easy as charging your phone, and you have to do so just once every few days – surely that beats going to a petrol station, no?
With the charging conundrum settled, let’s talk about financing. Some of you might have heard of Agility+ by Mercedes-Benz Financial Malaysia, the innovative payment plan that provides ultimate flexibility and convenience. The good news for EV prospects is that Agility+ is now available for EQ electric vehicles.
Here’s how it works. With Drive Electric Plan by Agility+, one gets a significantly lower monthly repayment amount compared to a traditional hire purchase loan. All you have to do is choose the tenure and your desired annual mileage – essentially, you’re not paying for the entire car, so to speak, just the years that you’ll be using it. At the end of the agreed tenure, the customer can choose to Settle, Extend or Return the car.
Settle is straightforward – pay the remaining residual value and the car is fully yours. Extend means extending your repayment plan to cover the remaining residual value over the next few years. Choose Return and you’ll hand back the car to Mercedes-Benz, with no further obligations. You’re now free to upgrade to a newer Mercedes-Benz, perhaps one with a different body style or one that fits your current needs. Or more of the same, but with the latest tech.
The final point is especially relevant when it comes to EVs. In contrast with the mature ICE, EV and battery tech is still developing at a fast rate, and what’s cutting edge now will most probably be superseded in a few years time. Purchasing an EV outright means you’ll have to live with the risk of obsoletion. This, and the lower monthly repayments/increased affordability, are the Drive Electric Plan by Agility+ features that perfectly match EV ownership today.
Staying on that theme, Guaranteed Future Value (GFV) is a major component of Drive Electric Plan by Agility+ that’s perfect for EVs. One concern about EVs is their resale value, which is valid for a tech that’s developing fast. With GFV, you’ll have assurance, as the future value of the car is laid out upfront – that same sum is what you’ll be presented with at the end of the tenure.
Agility+ is a great option for all Mercedes-Benz cars, but we feel that the scheme’s inherent flexible nature perfectly suits EVs, providing customers with more certainty on what might be – for some – a big step into the unknown. Transparent future value aside, the plan’s greater affordability in monthly payments versus hire purchase, on top of today’s tax-free prices, make EQ electric vehicles seriously attractive propositions.
Drive Electric Plan by Agility+ is now available for the EQA and EQS, further adding to the convenience of EV ownership with four service packages and MobilityPlus, which provides you a replacement Mercedes-Benz car whenever your EQ EV is undergoing routine servicing or warranty claims – no downtime.
Speaking of servicing, Mercedes-Benz has Compact and Comprehensive service packages for all EQ electric vehicles. The Compact package for the EQA, EQB and EQC has an interval of every 12,000 km or 12 months, whichever comes first. Priced from RM4,900, service and maintenance items include windshield washer, combination filter, brake fluid and dust filter replacement, the latter is only for the EQC.
The Compact package for the EQE and EQS is priced from RM5,800 and includes windshield washer, combination filter, brake fluid and dust filter. The interval is every 15,000 km or 12 months, whichever comes first.
The Comprehensive package for the EQA, EQB and EQC has all of the Compact items, and adds on selected wear and tear items such as wiper blades and brake pads. Pricing is from RM9,900. The Comprehensive package for the EQE and EQS also adds wiper blades and brake pads to the Compact package. It is priced from RM12,900.
So, ICE-powered cars and petrol stations aren’t expiring in the near future, at least in our part of the world. But if you’re fascinated about EVs and are considering a switch, the hurdles to EV adoption might not be as daunting as you think. Whether it’s about affordability, resale value or charging, EV ownership in Malaysia has never been better or more accessible than now.
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