Tesla’s Model Y has made it into Malaysia – according to reports priced at about RM 200,000 (S$88,000). The cars are still assembled in China for obvious reasons. However, manufacturing may shift to Malaysia in due course.
Malay Vehicle Importers and Traders Association of Malaysia (PEKEMA). PEKEMA plans to import at least 500 Teslas a year, buoyed by the recent removal of road tax, sales tax, and excise and import duty for electric vehicles in Malaysia. The Malaysian government has moved to catalyse the adoption of EVs, giving 100% duty exemption for completely built electric cars up to 31 December 2024. Chinese suppliers supporting Tesla will still be grinning their way to the bank (for now).
They have also put in place 100% duty exemption for completely knocked down kits for electric cars for local assembly up to 31 December 31 2025. Thailand’s The Nation reported the Malaysian government is actively promoting EV adoption, with Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim holding a virtual meeting with Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO. They discussed investments in the EV industry and satellite internet services by SpaceX, another company owned by Musk.
Malaysia is placing great importance on developing the infrastructure for an environmentally friendly automotive industry and provides incentives for electric vehicle purchases through various benefits, such as tax exemptions. The strategic goal is to move towards net zero carbon emissions by the year 2050.
Malaysia aims for electric and hybrid cars to make up 15% of all new registered vehicles within the next 7 years. Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) announced that it has approved Tesla’s application to import battery electric vehicles into Malaysia. MITI says Tesla will now proceed to establish:
- An Office
- Tesla Experience and Service Centres
- A Supercharger Network
MITI also says that Tesla is the first applicant of MITI’s BEV Global Leaders Initiative, aimed at boosting BEV demand in the country. Malaysia’s Minister of International Trade & Industry, Tengku Zafrul, welcomed the development and said this will help create skilled and better paying jobs for Malaysians.
Jumpstarting The Metalworking Tool Sector
When Malaysia starts assembling Tesla’s cars, there will be a range of metalworking tools in demand, plus the skilled operators. For a start, the following classes of machine tools may enjoy a demand:
CNC Machines (Computer Numerical Control): Versatile and widely used in the manufacturing of EVs. They include CNC mills, lathes, and routers, which can precisely cut and shape various materials like metal, plastic, and composites to create parts such as chassis, motor components, and body panels.
Injection Molding Machines: Used to produce plastic components like interior parts, dashboards, and covers. Injection molding machines melt and inject molten plastic into molds to form the desired shape.
Metal Stamping Presses: They are needed to produce large quantities of metal components with consistent quality. Stamping presses can create body panels, structural parts, and other metal components used in the EV assembly.
Welding Machines: Welding is crucial for joining metal components together. Various types of welding machines, such as MIG (Metal Inert Gas), TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas), and spot welders, are used in EV manufacturing.
Battery Assembly Equipment: They are specialised machines are required for assembling lithium-ion battery packs, including spot welding machines for battery cells and modules, electrolyte filling equipment, and battery testing systems.
Electric Motor Manufacturing Equipment: Electric motors require specific manufacturing processes, such as winding machines for creating coils, lamination stacking machines, and magnet assembly equipment.
Battery Cell Production Equipment: If the EV manufacturer produces its own battery cells, they will need equipment for processes like electrode coating, calendaring, electrolyte filling, and cell assembly.
Robotic Automation: Robots are employed in various aspects of EV production, including assembly, welding, painting, and material handling. They help improve efficiency and precision.
3D Printers: Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, is increasingly used in the automotive industry to create prototypes, custom parts, and certain tooling.
Testing and Quality Control Equipment: To ensure the safety and reliability of EVs, testing and quality control equipment, such as dynamometers, leak testers, and metrology tools, are essential for conducting thorough inspections.
Assembly Line Equipment: Conveyor systems, robotic arms, and automated assembly stations are used to streamline the production process on the assembly line.
Manufacturing electric vehicles requires a diverse range of specialised machine tools and advanced manufacturing processes. From CNC machines that shape various components with precision to robotic automation that streamlines assembly, the EV industry relies on cutting-edge technology to meet the demands of sustainable transportation.
Furthermore, battery assembly equipment and electric motor manufacturing tools play a critical role in the development of efficient and powerful EVs. As the automotive industry continues to embrace innovation and sustainability, the evolution of machine tools and manufacturing techniques will undoubtedly lead to more efficient, reliable, and accessible electric vehicles for a cleaner and greener future — at least for Malaysia in this case.
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