BMW dealerships in Malaysia were some of the first to install DC fast charging stations in the country. Though they were once free to roll up to and plug in, some of them have begun charging but what do EV owners think about it?
It’s a pretty logical progression to assume that all forms of EV charging cost money, though there are plans for it to be heavily subsidised. This is doubly so for DC fast chargers that can replenish an EV’s energy reserves much more quickly than the slower AC variety.
However, because the DC fast charging stations were erected and paid for by the specific dealership, EV users in Malaysia knew it was only a matter of time before they were made no longer free to use.
That said, they have noticed that some have taken it upon themselves to introduce their own pricing scheme, which is determined by the management of each dealership, creating a lack of transparency and uniformity in charging costs.
For example, it is now understood that the use of Auto Bavaria Ara Damansara’s 90kW DC fast chargers will only allow 10 minutes of charging for free but will cost RM1.40 per minute of use thereafter. Meanwhile, many dealerships under Ingress Auto will reportedly charge owners a flat RM50 to plug into their 90kW DC charger, payable via bank transfer.
Though all modern EVs support the universal CCS2 input connector, Ingress Auto’s policy toward other electric vehicles not made by BMW or MINI is to charge a flat RM70. As this does not seem to factor in charging time, it might be a better option for cars that have a large battery capacity (and consequently, longer charge time).
Shahrol Halmi, president of Malaysia’s largest community of EV owners/users, MyEVOC, has expressed his view on the matter to Carlist.my:
“We think it's fair that the users need to pay for these DCFCs (DC Fast Chargers) - without some form of cost recovery, the number of DCFCs won't grow quickly enough to support the EV growth. The key problem is about user-friendliness of the method to locate, check status and payment for these DCFCs,” he said.
“For example, the DCFCs at the BMW dealers are all wrapped and branded identically - but they have varying ways for users to pay, and some of them aren't even on any apps that users can check to see if those DCFCs are available or occupied,”
“We would also like to see more DCFCs offering the option of paying by kWh - CPOs should work more closely with Suruhanjaya Tenaga to work out a win-win-win solution for users, CPOs and the regulator.”
Petrochemical provider Shell has been a pioneer of DC fast charging stations that are not tied to any specific automotive brand, though they are partnered with Porsche. Their long-term plan is to build up a network of high-performance charging (HPC) stations in key locations around Malaysia by leveraging their extensive coverage of petrol filling stations.
These chargers will be outfitted with a 180kW DC output via CCS2 connector and are claimed to be able to recharge a depleted Porsche Taycan to 80% capacity in 30 minutes. Users will be charged RM20 for every 5 minutes their car spends plugged in in addition to an RM4 confirmation fee to unlock the charging bay.
Alternatively, Shell also sells a 1-year subscription for RM835 that reduces charging costs by approximately 40% in addition to other perks, which owners of the Porsche Taycan receive automatically.
While this is just one example of an EV charging service provider, it is the most likely template for what we can expect in the future, which is still marred by brand segmentation, confusing tier levels, and a lack of universality.
That being said, we can all agree that increasing abundance (and public expectation on availability) for DC chargers are only a good thing for electric vehicle adoption.
There's just something about cars. It's a conveyance, it's a liability, it's a tool; but it can also be a source of joy, pride, inspiration and passion. It's much like clothes versus fashion. And like the latter, the pursuit of perfection never ends.