Seiyong S1 EV in Malaysia – affordable electric car plan stalls as Malton, Ho Wah Genting MoU expires? –

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The rise of electric vehicles (EV) has seen not just the usual automotive players step up their battery-powered offerings, but companies from other sectors want a piece to the future pie too.

Ho Wah Genting Berhad (HWGB) is one of them. Primarily an investment holding company engaged in the provision of management services, HWGB last year revealed plans to introduce a Chinese EV called the Seiyong S1 in Malaysia. In March 2021, property developer Malton signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with HWGB to potentially acquire a 14% stake in the latter’s EV unit HWGB EV.

Malton has now said that the MoU with HWGB has expired. “The board of directors of Malton wishes to announce that the validity period of the MoU, which was in force for a period of 12 months, has expired on March 25, 2022,” the developer famous for its Pavilion shopping malls said in a Bursa filing.

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Malton did not elaborate on why it chose not to proceed with the investment. When the MoU was signed, the company said that the deal was for it to access information on the EV project, and conduct its own feasibility study.

“The MoU enables Malton to have access to further information in relation to the EV project, and conduct its own internal assessment and feasibility study on the viability of investing in HWGB EV. The HWGB EV investment represents an opportunity for Malton and its subsidiaries to invest in HWGB EV’s future business of manufacturing, assembling and distributing electric vehicles in Malaysia,” Malton said then.

Malton not having a part in it does not mean that HWGB’s plan to CKD locally assemble the Seiyong S1 won’t go ahead, as it can still proceed independently. The five-door hatchback from Beijing-based Seiyong Motor has a 31.9 kWh battery that’s good for a claimed 302 km range (NEDC cycle). The electric motor puts out 35 kW (47 hp) and 150 Nm of torque, and top speed is 110 km/h.

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Seiyong claims that charging the S1 from 30% SOC to 80% can be done in around 40-50 minutes via DC fast charging, and that regular charging will take around 10 hours. In China, the S1 a.k.a. Little Bee is available in three variants, priced from 70,000 to 90,000 yuan (RM46,431 to RM59,697). At 3,720 mm long, 1,640 mm wide and 1,494 mm tall, the S1 is slightly smaller than a Perodua Myvi.

“We firmly believe the EV industry is a fast growing industry in Malaysia with a lot of untapped potential. As the public environmental concerns are higher than ever before, we hope to provide and encourage a greener mode of transportation in Malaysia,” HWGB CEO Datuk Aaron Lim said last year.

“The innovative development strategy of Seiyong Motor has demonstrated that it has a strong market expansion plan and its core competitiveness is one of the factors to its success. In the next three to five years, we believe that Seiyong Motor will eventually be a key player in the global electric vehicle industry with the Seiyong S1,” he added.

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