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Malaysian firm moving into electric bus manufacturing

A Malaysian automotive firm, through its high-tech engineering-based subsidiary, will venture into the manufacturing of electric buses for exports.

The firm will initially invest RM20 million on the project. The investment would be used to produce prototyping, purchase of robotic arms, computer, high-tech machines, equipment for research and development and human capital.

The subsidiary, which plans to export the electric buses, will be responsible for developing the chassis of the bus, rechargeable batteries, electric motors and other high-quality support systems.

The electric buses will use 100 per cent local content and comply with European standards.

The firm is the second company to announce an electric bus venture in the last week.

Last Thursday, another Malaysian automotive company announced a partnership with an Indian firm to produce 50 electric buses for commercial use from March next year.

The company’s Managing Director stated that the project would cater to Southeast Asian market, with each bus costing about RM2 million.

Production would initially be based on foreign technology transfer and complemented with domestic technology before eventually evolving into full-fledged local operations.

The subsidiary will be led by local engineers and technicians in the automotive sector by leveraging on their extensive experiences in Europe and Japan.

Pushing forward IR4.0 through smart manufacturing

In an article from April 2019, it was noted that Malaysian manufacturers need to embrace technology and be competitive worldwide.

Industries can no longer be dependent on labour-intensive manufacturing practices. It is essential for manufacturers especially SMEs leverage on cyber-physical systems and cloud-based data to make informed business decisions in order to increase productivity.

Malaysia has the innovative and implementation capabilities to make automation possible and with an investment tag which is favourable to its economy.

Moreover, the process of upgrading the industry’s capabilities in IR4.0 should be implemented in stages. This will require buy-in from the industry and the approach that service providers should take is to have IR4.0 processes implemented on a gradual basis for an adjustment period.

According to Malaysia’s National Policy on Industry 4.0, a strong manufacturing sector will pave the way to enhanced productivity, job creation, innovation capacity, high-skilled talent pool and ultimately economic prosperity and societal well-being. This would position Malaysia as a primary destination for smart manufacturing globally and attract more high-tech investments.

Malaysia’s vision for the manufacturing sector in the next 10 years includes becoming a strategic partner for smart manufacturing and related services in the Asia Pacific region.

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