SAN FRANCISCO: Good news for green “motoring” in Malaysia. The Malaysian government has approved 100 units of Tesla Model S to be imported soon with duty exemptions.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is on the last leg of his week-long working visit to the United States, announced this after a tour of Tesla Motors headquarters in Palo Alto near here. He also had a brief drive of Tesla’s latest model, the Model X SUV.
Najib said he visited Tesla to show the government’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and a cleaner environment.
The nod for the bulk purchase ties in with Greentech Malaysia’s plan to promote sustainable mobility and green technology in the country. Greentech is an organisation under the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology & Water.
The Model S are expected to be restricted for use among government-linked companies (GLCs) under a leasing programme spearheaded by Greentech.
In May 2015, Greentech CEO Ahmad Hadri Haris had pointed out that Model S would be leased out to interested GLCs for two years at RM6,000 per month, which includes servicing and maintenance.
Late last year, it brought in two units of Model S for trials and offered the media a chance to drive it. (CarSifu had a day-long drive in the car recently. Report to come soon).
The two cars, shipped in via Tesla Hong Kong, were rear-wheel drive variants of the 85kWh Model S. It has a range of 427km, a top speed of 225kph and 0-100kph sprint time of 5.4s.
The 85kWh Li-ion battery has since been discontinued in favour of the 90kWh battery, which offers longer range and performance.
At Palo Alto, Najib expressed delight after taking the Model X for a spin.
“Its capabilities are really extraordinary and the display on the fully digital panel is very sophisticated,” said the Prime Minister. “It is a very fast car with acceleration from zero to 100km at around three seconds (3.4s for P90D variant with Ludicrous Speed Upgrade).”
Also striking a chord with him were the safety features of the electric SUV, which comes with falcon wing doors. He singled out the forward-collision warning with automatic braking, found normally in more expensive cars, as a safety system that impressed him.