This is real news man. I read it on M’kini but it has been picked up by all the international press, since it’s an AFP story. Proton is going to produce electric cars for Europe! From the news, it seems like a done deal and will materialise soon enough.
My first thoughts were – WTF??!! (1) We do not have the necessary technical expertise in the design of electric cars; and (2) We are finally going to do something right! Both these seem a little contradictory at first, yar.
Lack of technical expertise is not so much of a problem. At first I thought that we were merely going to be manufacturing someone else’s cars. However, according to the M’kini article, the electric cars will be based off the Gen2 and Persona models. This probably means that we are buying the tech from somewhere, unless someone had successfully hidden a Proton skunk-works programme. This means that we are spending money again, on technology transfer. Personally, I have nothing against spending money on tech transfer as long as we copy-smart and not copy-dumb. So, that solves the problem.
I think that Proton is finally doing something interesting and sexy. Electric cars are the way of the future. It is good that Proton is trying to get into the game while things are still relatively young. However, I do question the idea of Proton going it alone. We have wasted money designing the E01 engine and I hope that we do not end up wasting more money designing electric cars that nobody buys. However, Proton seems to be targeting the low-cost electric car market. This if a good idea. Let the otherse like Tesla mop up the designer car market.
Personally, I hope that Proton goes all electric and does not even step into the realm of hybrids. There are too many major players in the hybrid vehicle market now. If Proton decides to make electric cars, it will be one of the first movers in this market. It could very well establish itself as a brand for cheap, reliable, electric cars.
But then again, this is Proton that we are talking about. I sure hope that the government does not politicise it to death.
PS: All hail the new Proton Kilat! :p