Prototype in the wings


  • Nation
  • Saturday, 22 Feb 2020

Reports by HEMANANTHANI SIVANANDAM, THOMAS HUONG, RIZAL JOHAN, JAY WONG and CLARISSA CHUNG

KUALA LUMPUR: The government is looking for investors for the third national car project under the National Automotive Policy 2020 (NAP 2020), said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“We are inviting investors with foresight for the future of our motor vehicles and we are ready with new technology which will make the new national car competitive and of a high standard, ” said the Prime Minister in a press conference after the launch of the NAP 2020 yesterday.

Dr Mahathir said the prototype was ready but would not be exhibited to the public.

He said the government is working on ensuring the features of the cars are more sensitive to its environment and are safer for drivers.

“We have the capacity but we need investment.

“The government will not invest so we are asking the private sector to come in and produce cars not only for Malaysia, but for export, ” he said.

Dr Mahathir said Malaysia is open to working with foreign companies to develop the new national car, adding that Malaysia already has experience, developing both Proton and Perodua with Japan previously, and would be ready to collaborate with companies from all over the world that have the right technology for the Malaysian automotive industry. It was previously reported last October that DreamEdge Sdn Bhd, the anchor company to drive the third national car project, is aiming to unveil its first prototype in March 2020.

Japan’s Daihatsu Motor is providing technology support for the project but will not have a stake in the business.

DreamEdge is an engineering services company catering to various industries such as automotive, rail, electronics, energy, defence, precision equipment and tooling design.

DreamEdge founder and CEO Khairil Adri Adnan had said the first model would be a C-segment sedan using hybrid technology.

Earlier in his keynote speech, the government, said Dr Mahathir, has also made a “conscious decision” under NAP 2020 to implement the new third national vehicle, also known as the Malaysian Vehicle Project.

This will be done by building on the country’s efforts in developing two national cars and one national motorcycle, which are Proton, Perodua and Modenas respectively, said Dr Mahathir.

“The proposed new Malaysian Vehicle Project will emphasise on research and development and incorporation of the latest technologies in order to be competitive in both domestic and global markets.

“New technology clusters as well as a new expert workforce, especially in the field of automotive engineering, would be developed consequently, ” he said.

The new Malaysian Vehicle Project is expected to contribute significantly to the nation’s economic development through its support for both the upstream and downstream industries – creating the demand for other related materials such as high-grade steel, plastics, rubber and petrochemical products, which will stimulate further growth of these sub-sectors.

Dr Mahathir said the NAP 2020 will also incorporate three advanced technology elements to align itself with current technological trends -- Next Generation Vehicle, Mobility as a Service and Industrial Revolution 4.0.

Dr Mahathir said the advent of new disruptive technologies is set to revolutionise the automotive sector in unlimited ways, adding that the global digital transformation is already underway, impacting both the manufacturing and services sectors across their value chains.

“Vehicle technology such as Electrification, Internet of Things (IoT), Cooperative-Intelligent Transportation System (C-ITS) and

Vehicle Artificial Intelligence (AI) are critical development focus for today’s global carmakers to enhance vehicle safety as well as to make mobility more intelligent and environmentally-friendly.

“Apart from aligning with current technological trends, the NAP 2020 is also targeting at enhancing current policies while introducing new measures.

“A holistic industrial development policy would have to cater to the different needs and expectations of the various stakeholders within the value chain, ” said Dr Mahathir in his keynote speech at the NAP 2020 launch yesterday.

The premier said the NAP 2020 will also continue its efforts towards sustainable production.

Dr Mahathir said across the globe, a circular economy model is becoming the norm and the success of an industry or a sector is being measured by its carbon footprint, among others.

“The automotive industry has gone through the same phases of industrial revolution.

“From coal to fuel-powered engines, the next generation vehicles are now engineered by powertrain of hybrid, electric and hydrogen fuel cells.

“The promotion and adoption of green technology for Energy Efficient Vehicles and the Next Generation Vehicles will need to be supported by the right ecosystem and infrastructure for it to be sustainable and attractive, ” he said.

The NAP 2020, which has a time horizon of 10 years, has three directional thrusts, and three strategies.

The NAP 2020 also consists of seven roadmaps or blueprints, detailing the implementation plan.

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