Malaysia- A green public transport system

With the increasing number of vehicles on the roads in Malaysia, the pollution they will create is sparking a great deal of discussion about the future of Malaysia’s transport, both public and private. On the one hand, the option of creating an improved network of connections- particularly for the capital city- is a potential solution. On the other hand, green transportation may be the way forward.

The Acting CEO, Ahmad Zairin Ismail, of the Malaysian Green Technology Corporation (GreenTech Malaysia) believes that green transportation is extremely important to Malaysia’s economy. It stands to reason that, given that the transportation sector is second only to the energy section sector in the production of CO2, and that the transportation sector is closely linked to the subsidy of fuel, that improvements made in fuel efficiency will reduce the economic burden of the fuel subsidy in the future.

A green alternative may be the only realistic and long-term solution to tackle the current problems in the system. While the government endeavours to improve public transportation systems, its clear that the issue of carbon emissions and climate change cannot be ignored.

Ahmad has indicated that a number of parties are looking to improve the public transport system, both in terms of improving the system’s convenience, and a reduction in energy consumption, stating as well that the public bus system has been looking into more advanced concepts and technologies, and that with a greener public transport system, a more green-conscious society will begin to emerge.

It starts with the buses. By introducing electric buses, which do not contribute directly to the carbon emission total as with diesel buses, they will also reduce noise pollution as well.

This is being taken even further. Malaysia’s Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water has appointed GreenTech Malaysia to coordinate the development of an Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Roadmap. The idea is to replace the internal combustion engine with non-emission vehicles, which brings with it additional opportunities in the area of energy production- such as solar and biomass. GreenTech has consulted with various players with experience in the industry, and studied best-practices from developed nations with more mature electric vehicle policies while developing their own.

Their goal is for 10% of vehicles to be electric by 2020 (100,000 vehicles in the country), and plan to take full advantage of Malaysia’s own car manufacturer, and vibrant automotive, electronics & ICT industries in helping their electric vehicle industry mature.

Pilot demonstration projects are already well underway, and the completion of the roadmap is slated for next year, with the implementation of the roadmap scheduled to follow thereafter.
The regulatory framework that will allow electric cars to be driven on Malaysian roads is already in place. Pilot tests on the electric buses are underway, and the framework that will enable them to operate in Malaysia is being developed.

One of their focuses is the infrastructure for charging the buses when the system is in full effect. A mix of standard charging equipment, fast charging & battery swapping will be used, but must be set up and used in a highly visible way so as to alleviate any fears or anxieties about electric vehicles and their range. A number of internationally accepted standards are being considered for adoption.