Motoring enthusiasts often talk about driving as an emotional thing and while there are various kinds of emotions – stress, fear, anger – it is often the emotion of pleasure that is publicised. ‘Driving’ pleasure is often mentioned as what can be experienced from a new car and advertisements play it up in different ways.

Going together with driving pleasure for sportscars is also the sound of the engine and exhaust – a growl or a roar or even a crackle – and it is what gets the adrenaline flowing faster. The ultimate sound comes from racing cars which, not being restricted by regulations for vehicles used on public roads, are typically louder.

With electrically-powered cars, there is no combustion engine, no exhaust pipe – and therefore no sound. Environmentalists are happy with the prospect of roads becoming quieter in future as more electric vehicles (EVs) travel on them. But for those who have always loved driving and the pleasure it gives, the absence of engine and exhaust sound is a huge loss. The silence, as the saying goes, is ‘deafening’.


Although the full duty exemption for electric vehicles (EVs) began last year, the sales were slow as the incentive was announced by the government only towards the end of 2021. As a lot of production planning and ordering had already been done by many carmakers, the sudden demand from Malaysia was difficult to meet right away in 2022.

However, 2023 should see acceleration in EV sales as the car companies would now have secured larger allocations and stocks are arriving constantly. An indication of this is the announcement by Sime Darby Motors that it has sold and delivered 1,000 units of the BYD ATTO 3 in 100 days.


BMW Malaysia has made its first fully electric SUV, the BMW iX1 available for registration of interest (ROI). This was revealed on BMW Malaysia’s website just yesterday.

The iX1 made its debut in June 2022 and is available in Malaysia in the xDrive30 form.


Going camping usually means leaving behind the conveniences that modern living has, much of which depends on electric power. To cook or make coffee, you would need to have a fire and for lighting at night, you have a fire or use portable lanterns. Of course, those who travel by a vehicle could bring along a portable generator or with some vehicles (like the latest Ford Ranger), there are heavy-duty 3-pin outlets to supply electricity for equipment and devices.

In future, those who travel outdoors with electric vehicles will be able to use their EVs like ‘power banks’ with a feature known as Vehicle-To-Load (V2L). It’s slowly becoming a common feature in many of the latest EVs and is useful not only for camping but also at home. The large amount of energy stored in the battery pack can be used to power appliances in the house, which would be useful when you have a power cut.


For all its life, the Mini has been primarily manufactured in England. Even when the Mini became the modern MINI after the name and model rights were acquired by the BMW Group, the original factory in Oxford was also acquired to continue production of the model.

Of course, besides England, the Mini was also assembled locally in some countries, including Malaysia. Same with the MINI, which has been assembled at the Inokom plant in Kedah. Soon, the new MINI model will be produced in Germany for the first time, at the BMW Group’s plant in Leipzig. This makes the production facility the first plant at which vehicles of the BMW and MINI brands are manufactured together.


The smart brand was once in Malaysia, around 20 years ago, when DaimlerChrysler Malaysia (now Mercedes-Benz Malaysia) marketed it, but it was poorly received. Though its small size – which could only take two – was appreciated in European cities, it was too small for Malaysians who could get more seats and more space – for less money.

So smart faded away from the market and a decade later, declining sales in other markets also saw Mercedes-Benz, which owned the company, rethink its strategy for the brand. With the auto industry rushing towards electrification, it was logical for smart to also go in that direction. In fact, it had already started electrification earlier but needed a new generation of models developed from scratch as electric vehicles (EVs).

This led the German carmaker to team up with the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group in a new joint venture company which would use the smart brand, which still retained its trendiness. It looked like a smart (no pun intended) move as Mercedes-Benz would offer the design expertise while Geely would provide its Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA) modular platform engineered specifically for EVs. Thus smart gained a ‘second wind’ and has been quick to roll out its first product, the smart #1.


There was a time when carmakers tried very hard to prevent their prototypes from being seen and photographed. Back then, it was mainly professionals who hunted for the prototypes undergoing testing in remote places like the Arctic Circle, Death Valley (in America) and Africa. People like the Hans Lehmann, Brenda Priddy and the late Bob Dunne made a lot of money selling their pictures to magazines.

But with the advent of cameraphones and the possibility of anyone standing by the roadside taking a picture and then putting it on the internet where the whole world would see it, the thinking changed. And rather than let those people make money, the companies decided to exploit the attention by teasing the public with their own ‘spy shots’ of camouflaged cars.


Over the last 10 years, the average weight of vehicles sold has increased by about 9% or around 100 kgs. Sales of small SUVs have increased 5 times, becoming the most sold vehicles in 2022 with about 4 million new units put on roads across Europe. Large SUV sales have also further increased by 7 times, although the total sales volume is roughly 700,000 units.

Considering the impact of weight on consumption and on greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and primary energy demand (PED) for production, a compact family car – with a 100 kg average increase in weight – is responsible for about 1.4 tonnes of additional greenhouse gas emissions and 5.7 MWh of extra energy used.


Following on from the alliance between Ford and Volkswagen which has seen the new Amarok for the German carmaker based on the latest Ranger, Ford has now revealed the first of two new models which will use Volkswagen’s MEB platform for battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

The new model, to go on sale later this year for under 45,000 euros (about RM216,000), uses the Explorer nameplate. This name has a long history in Ford’s range and at one time, was the bestselling SUV in the world. Now it is going electric as part of Ford’s reinvention of the Ford brand in Europe. By 2030, Ford aims to have an all-electric portfolio of passenger vehicles.


The smart brand is among the younger automotive brands in the world, with its original concept of a compact city car having been conceived in the early 1990s. And it wasn’t just a basic car with compact dimensions; the brainchild of Nicolas Hayek, the man who created the Swatch watch, it was to be cheap, trendy and practical for almost anyone – like the watches.

Hayek believed there was a market for such a car, especially with the congestion in cities. But he also realised that he knew a lot about making watches… but little about making cars. So he knocked on the doors of Renault and VW, but they were not interested. Little did he know then that Mercedes-Benz had noticed his idea in 1993 and it matched their idea of a city car which they had been exploring for many years.  



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