Friday, November 5, 2010

Proton to offer hybrid car below RM100,000

PETALING JAYA: PROTON HOLDINGS BHD  is looking to offer its first hybrid car at a competitive price of below RM100,000, Advisor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said on Tuesday, Nov 2.

Expected to be commercially launched next year, Proton is said to be developing hybrid as well as electric engines with British company Frazer-Nash Research, South Korea's LG and its Britain-based subsidiary Lotus.

Dr Mahathir, who is former prime minister, said the development of hybrid cars was part of Proton's initiative to move into green TECHNOLOGY [].

"We have now frozen the design and in the process of improving the performance of the car. We will make an announcement very soon," he told reporters after handing over Proton's 25th Anniversary edition cars to the first nine buyers here.

"The price of a hybrid car will be slightly higher than an ordinary car because the batteries are so expensive. In the case of a well-known car maker, the hybrid car will be three times higher than ordinary cars.

"Our cars, I think will be below RM100,000," he said.

He said Proton would be putting its three hybrid cars to participate in a race in Britain on Nov 6.

Meanwhile, Proton Managing Director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir the company would set a test fleet of about 50 hybrid vehicles for use by the government before the launch of mass production.

He had earlier said that the company was producing the Exora hybrid version in Britain for testing and research.

A vehicle with hybrid technology means it has two sources of power, petrol and electricity. Today’s hybrids combine a petrol engine with one or more electric motors.

The fully electric hybrid drivetrain consists of an engine that recharges lithium ion batteries, which, in turn, power an electric motor responsible for driving the car.

Honda Malaysia yesterday announced that customers could purchase its new Civic Hybrid at on-the-road price of RM108,980 in Peninsular and RM109,980 in East Malaysia, which is RM21,000 less than the current Honda Civic.

Last week, UMW Toyota Motor cut the Toyota Prius on-the-road price with insurance in Peninsular Malaysia to RM139,900 from RM175,000. The price in Sabah and Sarawak is about RM141,500 due to higher logistics costs.

This was in line with the government's decision to extend tax incentives for hybrid vehicles until Dec 31, 2011


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