Proton EV roadmap – to start with MHEV, then PHEV and BEV; targeting Malaysia as an EV RHD hub –

Back in 2021, Proton indicated that it had a planned roadmap for electrification involving hybrid, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and full electric vehicles, and also that it would enter the market when the time was right.

Since then, with the exception of the planned entry of the smart #1, slated for this year, and the mention that it would be introducing its own EV by 2027, there has been very little to indicate how – and when – it would go about entering the arena.

Now, the national carmaker has provided an outline of how it is aiming to proceed, presenting a rough sketch of its roadmap at a CNY media dinner event last night. The company said that its move into the new energy vehicle segment will be phased, with mild hybrid (MHEV) tech leading the way in, alongside the smart #1. This will be followed by more BEVs and PHEVs before transitioning into BEVs as core products.

Although no specific timelines were revealed, Proton deputy CEO Roslan Abdullah said that implementation would be carried out over three overlapping phases, that of initial deployment, growth and finally, production.

“Our pioneering phase stretches over two timelines where we will penetrate the market, develop our capabilities and strengthen market awareness. This will overlap into the EV growth phase, which also stretches over two time periods. This is where we envision to start local EV production, further development of the ecosystem and accelerate the adoption of EVs in Malaysia,” he said.

“The final phase of industrialisation is for Proton to become a right-hand drive hub for EV, where we have a fully developed ecosystem and we are exporting vehicles,” he added. The mention of the company being a RHD hub for EV manufacturing is notable in that it suggests that production may not just be limited to Proton-badged vehicles.

With regards to products, Roslan said that the company will kick things off with a mild hybrid EV and a BEV, namely the smart #1. Meanwhile, the former should be the upcoming Proton X90, with the mild hybrid mention providing an indication that the seven-seater, which is based on the Geely Haoyue, or the Okavango in the Philippines, is set to feature the mild hybrid 190 PS/300 Nm 1.5 litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine, a unit of which is already on display at the Proton Centre of Excellence.

Roslan added a cryptic note regarding some brands that were presented along in the slide.”Moving forward, the product range will expand to more BEV and PHEV models and yes, if you look at the slide, there is a plan to synergise our EV industrialisation strategy with other brands in the Geely group, so while I am not promising anything, you may get to see some interesting EV offerings in Malaysia in the very near future,” he said.

An indication of Polestar and Zeekr coming our way through official channels, perhaps? While it wasn’t listed, Lynk & Co is also a possibility. Interesting times, indeed.

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