Malaysia’s first national carmaker Proton has formally launched a new brand, e.MAS, to help drive its electrification strategy in its home market.

The automaker said e.Mas, an acronym for Electrifying Malaysia, would be used for all future electric vehicles (EVs) it planned to launch in collaboration with its Chinese strategic partner Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely) which owns a 49.9% stake in the company.

Production of Geely-based EVs, including plug in hybrids and battery electric vehicles (BEVs), would be at the assembly plant in Tanjung Malim in Perak state.

The factory currently produces the Geely based X50, X70 and X90 mild hybrid which was launched last year.

Proton said last month its first plug in hybrid, also based on a Geely model, was scheduled to go into production next year along with a Geely based BEV.

The company opened a new research and development (R&D) centre in China last month, within the Geely Automobile Research Institute in Hangzhou Bay, to help speed up the localisation process.

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Proton CEO Li Chunrong said in a statement: “The unveiling of the e.MAS brand and logo today marks a significant step forward in Proton’s journey towards launching our own EV model. We are aware that as a company tied to the industrialisation of Malaysia, we have a responsibility to provide mobility solutions relevant and within reach of all Malaysians. This is why Proton has been deliberate in its approach towards EVs, developing our knowledge base step by step to ensure we have a thorough understanding of the products, technology and user concerns before sales even begin.”

Li Chunrong added: “As Malaysia’s first automotive brand it is important for Proton to invest in infrastructure to offer a full range of services to EV buyers, instead of just selling product. Therefore, when Proton e.MAS models go on sale, customers can be reassured their every need will be taken care of just like it would be for buyers of the current range.”

At the launch event, Proton also announced it had appointed its first 17 EV dealers with agreements formalised at a signing ceremony earlier in the day.

The automaker said applications were now open for interested dealers having set an initial target of 30 EV outlets by 2025.