The Malay Vehicle Importers and Traders Association of Malaysia (Pekema) has announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China Dongfeng Motor Industry Imp. & Exp. Co., Ltd. (DFMIEC), representing Dongfeng Motor Corporation (DFMC). This will see the launch of Dongfeng’s first right-hand drive new energy vehicle (NEV) in Malaysia sometime in the middle of next year.
The model in question is the DONGFENG S31, which is a compact electric vehicle (EV) that recently made its debut in China. Malaysia will be the first RHD market for the S31, which will also be a CKD model as localization is in the pipeline.
The EV is built on Dongfeng’s Quantum Architecture No. 3 and features a single electric motor with a maximum output of 163 PS (161 hp or 120 kW) – some Chinese media outlets claim 95 PS (94 hp or 70 kw), with power supplied by a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery with an energy density of 157 Wh per kg. The S31 is said to be able to gain 200 km of range with just eight minutes of charging.
Data from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) reveal the five-seat S31 to measure 4,030 mm long, 1,810 mm wide, and 1,570 mm tall with a wheel of 2,660 mm. Images from MIIT also show a range of wheel designs, and reports from China state the S31 will be available with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) for up to Level 2 semi-autonomous driving.
“Pekema’s collaboration with DFMIEC is a significant step in our mission to usher in a more environmentally friendly era of mobility in Malaysia. The EV landscape in Malaysia is in a remarkable growth environment, and this collaboration places us at the forefront of change. It is a historic event in reshaping the future of transportation in our beloved country,” said deputy president cum acting president of Pekema, Datuk Hj Mohamed Nazari Bin Noordin.
“DFMC’s impressive track record and wealth of experience in the automotive industry are significant assets for this venture. Renowned for their diverse car production, including electric vehicles, they are eager to apply their expertise in Malaysia and tap into the country’s promising electric car market. In line with DFMC’s global expansion, Malaysia offers significant untapped potential for right-hand-drive EVs,” added Nazari.
“This collaboration also enhances Pekema’s role in promoting various vehicle brands and products, as well as establishing a comprehensive after-sales service network. The two parties will initiate joint investments in the production and assembly of electric vehicle components while seeking special incentives from the government. This collaboration also marks a significant shift in Pekema’s business model, as the association pivots from traditional imports to the electric mobility revolution,” read the release.
“Today, we gather here in Malaysia as the first stop for RHD model cooperation. This is our well-thought-out decision in the context of the Malaysian government’s great support to NEVs and the sincere cooperative willingness of our partner,” commented Zhao Xiaojie, general manager of DFMIEC’s passenger vehicle overseas marketing department, who added that DFMIEC will prioritize local production in Malaysia to bring more EV products to ASEAN countries.