The partnership between local automaker Proton and smart Automobile has now been finalised. Both parties signed a general distributorship agreement earlier today, officializing a deal that allows the former to sell and service the latter’s electric vehicles (EVs) in both Malaysia and Thailand.
At the signing, Proton chairman Datuk Seri Syed Faisal revealed that the company is set to launch the first EV model from its partner during the first phase of the collaboration, which is expected to be in the fourth quarter of 2023. Further, the local automaker adds that it aims to gain critical knowledge of how to market, sell and service new EVs through this collaboration.
As previously announced by the company, the first smart EV that will be sold by Proton next year is the smart #1 (pronounced “Hastag One”) electric SUV. It is co-developed by the car brand’s parent companies, Geely and Mercedes-Benz, and is built on the former’s second Sustainable Electric Architecture (SEA2) along with aesthetics designed by the latter.
The vehicle is equipped with a rear-wheel-drive electric motor that is capable of producing 200 kW of power and 343 Nm of torque, allowing for a top speed of 180 km/h. With its 66-kWh battery, the smart #1 is said to offer a range of 440 km (WLTP cycle).
Additionally, Proton CEO Dr Li Chunrong notes that Proton intends to model retail operations for smart based vehicles on what the company does in other markets. “The move into this market segment will also help drive Proton’s move towards being more environmentally friendly in all facets of our operations as we work to help Malaysia achieve its carbon neutrality target by 2050,” he said.
Outside of the retail aspect, the company also announced plans to invest in a charging network by collaborating with a local charging provider. The latter will handle the installation of domestic units for home-based EV charging as well.
(Source: The Edge)