PETALING JAYA (ANN/THE STAR) – Industry experts predict that Malaysia will experience an upsurge in hydrogen-powered vehicles post-2024, positioning hydrogen as a significant and sustainable energy source for the nation.
Datuk Tony Khor Chong Boon, President of the Federation of Motor and Credit Companies Association of Malaysia, underscores the potential of hydrogen vehicles, aligning with the global trend seen in countries like Japan, the United States, and various European nations. However, he acknowledges the challenges, including high production costs and the need for government investment.
Khor also highlights environmental concerns associated with battery-based electric vehicles (EVs), such as battery disposal issues and higher greenhouse gas emissions during manufacturing. He points out that EVs require battery replacement every eight to ten years, which poses environmental challenges.
Domestic automobile companies are showing a growing interest in hydrogen, exploring opportunities in China. Khor emphasises the importance of addressing safety concerns related to hydrogen fuel stations, advocating for comprehensive safety measures like leak detection, isolation, and proper training for hydrogen handling.
Automobile enthusiast Tai Choo Yee echoes Khor’s sentiments, emphasizing the environmental advantages of hydrogen-powered vehicles in a country like Malaysia, which heavily relies on coal and natural gas for electricity. He highlights the quick refueling time and comparable driving range of hydrogen cars, citing models like the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo. However, he acknowledges the high hydrogen storage and transportation costs.
Tai stresses the need for more robust government investment and incentives to dispel misconceptions about EVs and promote the adoption of hydrogen vehicles. He notes that EV development in Malaysia has progressed swiftly, driven by tax incentives that have attracted various brands.
Tai anticipates the growth of hydrogen-powered cars in Malaysia, especially with the Sarawak state government actively promoting hydrogen energy, aiming to become a commercial hydrogen producer by 2027. However, he emphasises that addressing infrastructure and educational challenges will be crucial for Malaysians to embrace electric and hydrogen vehicles in the local market, with hydrogen cars expected to shine in the coming years.