As we have achieved many technological advances, Malaysians have been given the opportunity to experience a life full of luxuries. But these luxuries come at a cost (and I’m not just talking about money here). Every time we create some new machine that is meant to help humankind, we also end up harming our Earth. One shining example of this is the advances in automotive technology.
Back during the Stone Age, our ancestors had only one mode of travel: on foot. Though nomadic as they were, they did not seem to need any transport as a tribe would live closely together and not venture too far unless moving to find a new home. Now, society has grown and the population of humans live in many different homes, some far from others. To overcome this problem, people have created transports like boats, karts and, at this age, cars. Although one might see this as a gift from our forefathers, it also causes many negative effects on us and our Earth. Most of these effects come from the gas emissions released by automobiles hence leading to pollution. That is why we are shifting from diesel-powered vehicles to electric vehicles (EVs). Many countries had already introduced electric cars with positive feedback. The question is: Will it work in Malaysia?
Although the country is already kickstarting a plan to increase the usage of electric vehicles through an EV car sharing program by COMOS, it might not work as intended considering that many prefer to have their own personal ride. This is also the reason why many don’t take public transports to get around. Aside from that, the procedures that are taken to activate the car through this program is rather tedious. It’s easier to just turn the key on the ignition to get started. Click here to watch a video on this, and you might understand why.
Now another factor most people are still inclined to get themselves conventional vehicles is because the distance for electric vehicles to travel is rather short when compared to non-electric transports. So far, EVs can only provide 80 to 100 miles of real-world driving range. So, if you are driving to work with this type of car, you might need to recharge your car’s battery midway during the return trip. To overcome this dilemma, car manufacturers are aiming to develop an EV that can go 200 miles long. Until then, however, consumers will continue to buy normal carbon-emitting vehicles, regardless of whether it pollutes our Earth or not.
In relation to this, the time taken to recharge the battery of an EV is painstakingly longer than refuelling a normal car. It is a rather mundane task that takes up to an hour. If you ever forget to recharge your vehicle’s battery, then you might’ve just delayed your trip (unless you don’t mind waiting, of course). EV drivers are forced to properly plan their routine for the day as this tiring yet vital task could mess up your schedule, especially when you are in a rush.
Another thing to keep in mind is that, in Malaysia, there are not many places for people to charge these vehicles’ batteries. According to www.plugshare.com, the charging stations for electric transports are mostly concentrated in Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur in Peninsula Malaysia, and there is only one station located in Miri in the whole of Borneo. This is a major turn off for people who would want to travel to rural areas to visit relatives using this type of transport. If the country really wants to have more people to use EVs, the government should establish more charging stations so that they have one less headache to worry about in the future with electric cars.
So, as you can see, there are many challenges for the government to introduce electric vehicles in Malaysia. Although there are many positives on the usage of electric-powered transports, the downsides seem to outweigh its benefits. But this doesn’t mean that we should give up on the idea. In a few years time, things will slowly change and pave an opportunity for the rise of EVs as the world is looking for alternatives to vehicles that emit harmful gases. If “Doc” Emmet Brown can use trash to replace plutonium as a power source for his time machine in Back To The Future, I’m sure we can find something to replace our reliance on conventional vehicles.