Is the road tax actually cheaper for electric cars in Malaysia?

Arif · Sep 20, 2020 08:00 AM

We’ve seen the launch of the Porsche Taycan and the MINI Cooper SE in Malaysia this year. They were surprisingly priced lower than our expectations. The MINI Cooper SE has a price tag of RM 218,380 and the Taycan 4S starts at RM 725,000.

We did expect the MINI to be priced lower than the BMW i3s, but the Taycan is cheaper in Malaysia than it is in Thailand. The “low” price of these cars could be a result of the 10% excise tax on all electric cars as opposed to 60% to 105% for ICE cars. 

"I don't care how fast it goes round the Nürburgring. How much is the road tax?"

When we talk about electric cars in Malaysia, the immediate question that comes to mind is how much is the road tax for these things? Is it free? Is it calculated by emissions? Or is it calculated from the price of the car?

The answer is that the road tax for electric cars in Malaysia are calculated by the power output of the electric motor. We'll go into the details later. The unit used for electric motor power is kilo Watts (kW).

Now, before you think that “kiloWatts” is special for electric cars, the output of your internal combustion engine car is also represented in kiloWatts. We are just more used to the “horsepower”, or the PS unit.

EV battery capacities are usually rated in kWh and charging speeds are usually rated in kW too, but that's a story for another day.

So, what are the road tax prices like for electric cars? Let’s have a look at the current electric line-up that we have. (Calculations are based on the latest guidelines)

1. Nissan Leaf (110kW)

- RM187 Road Tax

The Nissan Leaf is the second electric car to be officially sold in Malaysia. (Perhaps third if you consider the Renault Twizy as a car). Before that we had the Renault Zoe that later became part of a car-sharing program by COMOS Malaysia.

Road tax of the show unit

If you go and check out the test drive unit of the Nissan Leaf, you might notice that the road tax is at RM187. There's a 50% discount on the supposed RM374 road tax. The Nissan leaf is fully imported from Japan. The excise duty is 10% and the import duty is 0% due to the Japan-Malaysia FTA.

According to the new method of calculation, the 110 kW Nissan Leaf road tax is calculated as such:

Above 100 kW to 125 kW – RM274, and RM0.50 for every 0.05 kW (50 watt) increase from 100 kW

So that’s RM274 + RM100 = RM374

There is however,a 50% discount which makes the road tax RM187. Why the 50% discount? More info on this later.

2. MINI Cooper SE (135 kW)

- RM724 Road Tax

Already sold out in less than a month (25 units), the MINI Cooper SE is the most cheerful-looking EV we have in this list. Battery capacity is not the MINI’s forte (29.8 kWh). It is a city runabout after all. However, we’d just like to point out that the Honda E has a 35.5 kWh battery.

Many expected the road tax of the MINI to be super cheap when it was launched (inaccurate reports caused some confusion), but the road tax of the MINI Cooper SE is officially listed at RM724, which is in exact accordance to the calculation method laid out by MAA.

The road tax for the MINI Cooper SE is calculated like so:

Above 125 kW to 150 kW – RM524, and RM1.00 for every 0.05 kW (50 watt) increase from 125 kW

So that is: RM524 + RM200 = RM724

Just like how it should be.

3. BMW i3s (135 kW)

- RM42 Road Tax

Range extended BMW i3 REx

The official price list on BMW’s webpage lists the road tax at RM42.  There’s something not right there, eh? Both the BMW i3s and the MINI Cooper SE have power output ratings of 135kW. Heck, it’s even the exact same powertrain. Just that one is FWD and one is RWD.

Type 2 charger in the back. Fuel filler cap in the front.

When the i3 was previewed in Malaysia in 2018 during the Malaysia Auto Show, the unit was a BEV with a range extender.

The range extender is a 647 cc 2-cylinder generator. Perhaps the i3 (with range extender) is evaluated as a hybrid with a 647cc engine. That  might explain the RM42 road tax. Cunning.

The full BEV BMW i3s has no fuel filler cap onthe right front fender

4. Porsche Taycan Turbo S (560 kW)

- RM 11,594 Road Tax?

The newest addition to the EVs available in Malaysia is the Porsche Taycan. Available in the 4S, 4S Battery Plus, Turbo, and Turbo S, the Taycan is here for those looking for a luxury electric car from a German marque.

Each variant of the Taycan has different outputs with the obvious Turbo S being the most powerful.

"Ja, I do 0-100 km/h in 3.2 seconds. Let me finish charging first."

Road tax for the Taycan variants are as such if calculated using the newest method:

Porsche Taycan 4S (390kW) – RM 7,004

Porsche Taycan 4S Battery Plus (420 kW) – RM 7,814

Porsche Taycan Turbo (500) – RM 9,974

Porsche Taycan Turbo S (560 kW) – RM 11,594

How did the price become like so?

This is how the road tax is calculated for EVs with more than 150kW of maximum power output:

Above 150 kW – RM1,024, and RM1.35 for every 0.05 kW (50 watt) increase from 125 kW.

Listed below is how the road tax is calculated for EVs of all power output ratings.

EV Road Tax Calculation

For private saloon motorcars with rated outputs of 80 kW and below, the rates are as such:

  • 50 kW and below – RM20
  • Above 50 kW to 60 kW – RM44
  • Above 60 kW to 70 kW – RM56
  • Above 70 kW to 80 kW – RM72

Above 80kW, the road tax for EVs are calculated like so: 

Above 80 kW to 90 kW

RM160, and RM0.32 for every 0.05 kW (50 watt) increase from 80 kW

Above 90 kW to 100 kW 

RM224, and RM0.25 for every 0.05 kW (50 watt) increase from 90 kW

Above 100 kW to 125 kW 

RM274, and RM0.50 for every 0.05 kW (50 watt) increase from 100 kW

Above 125 kW to 150 kW

RM524, and RM1.00 for every 0.05 kW (50 watt) increase from 125 kW

Above 150 kW 

RM1,024, and RM1.35 for every 0.05 kW (50 watt) increase from 125 kW.

What if the Iriz EV made it to production?

What if other cars were taxed like EVs?

We were curious how these EV road tax calculation methods would turn out if applied to ICE cars and hybrid cars. So, we gave the calculation a go. Here’s how things turned out:

Proton X70 1.8 T (135 kW) – RM 724

Honda City RS i-MMD (152 kW combined) – RM 1,078 road tax

Not so fun now eh, torquey boi?

*with the City RS i-MMD electric motor alone (80.17kW) - RM 161 road tax

Mazda RX8 (158kW) – RM 1,240

Where are the braap braap sounds now

Nissan Almera 1.0 turbo (73 kW) – RM72

Toyota Vios 1.5 (79kW) – RM 72

Perodua Myvi 1.5 (76kW) – RM 72 

Perodua Axia 1.0 (50kW) – RM 44

Honda Civic 1.5 TCP (127 kW) – RM 564

BMW 320i M Sport (137 kW) – RM 728

*This was just done out of curiosity and is not meant to be taken seriously. Had this taken place we would all be under reporting our max power outputs.

Whatever it is, this is how electric car road taxes are calculated just in case the thought of buying one ever crossed your mind. Do you feel it is fair? Should we make the road tax free to encourage the use of more electric vehicles? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.