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Electric Racing Series Takes To The Streets Of Putrajaya

It's been over two months since the inaugural FIA Formula E Championship kicked off with its first race in Beijing. And after an extended break, the action got back under way this weekend with the second race in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

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Social Media Can Literally Affect The Race

NASCAR, take note: this is one fun idea. FIA Formula E Championship organizers are letting the general public vote for their favorite racer in the first-ever electric-vehicle racing circuit. And the so-called FanBoost feature is far more than a popularity contest.

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Some people just have all of the luck. Natasha Oon, a 12-year-old girl in Malaysia, was recently attending the 40th RSGC Ladies Amateur Open Championship at the Royal Selangor Golf Club with her parents. On a whim, she teed up a shot with her eight iron and scored a hole-in-one. That would have been impressive for a girl her age by any standards, but she didn't see the sign that said making the shot also won her a new Volvo XC60 T5. Not a bad prize for a tween who won't be allowed to drive for a

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Mini Malaysia wants you - at least those of you in Southeast Asia - to know that the new Mini has a riptide of adrenaline and sharp teeth underneath its larger, more ergonomically efficient exterior. To make the point it enlisted the aid of Putrajaya roads, local agency Saatchi & Saatchi Arachnid and four local action sports stars: Fizzy, Shuk, Rizlan and Nasa.

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Between the unfortunate saga of flight MH370 and the grand prix this weekend, Malaysia has been on our radar more than usual lately. And now the Southeast Asian country has popped up again, once more related to transportation issues, as Kuala Lumpur is working on a new subway system. Which isn't something we'd normally care about, but this subway just happens to have been designed by BMW.

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The action and glamor of a Formula One race coming to town is usually more than enough to shine an international spotlight on a host country, but Malaysia has made headlines recently for another reason entirely. That, of course, would be the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight 370. But with the two events coming together, something's going to have to give, and unfortunately in this case, it's the grieving families of the flight's passengers.

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Caterham may have found a new distributor in the US, but it will still be some time before buyers get the chance to pick up a production version of its AeroSeven Concept. The lightweight sports car that we thought looked pretty unique and special is going back to the drawing board after criticism from customers in one of the brand's most important markets – Malaysia.

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"There are no points for second place" may be a long-repeated mantra among anyone involved in competitive racing (or Top Gun fanatics, for that matter), but the folks of Putrajaya, Malaysia, seem to be OK with that position. City leaders recently feted an official agreement for Putrajaya to host the second-ever Formula E race, which will pit super-fast electric vehicles against each other on city streets.

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A charity drive from Singapore to Malaysia went quite awry when a convoy of Lamborghinis smashed into each other on one of the city-state's highways, with one of the cars catching fire. And while it's easy to assume that the supercars were at fault, initial reports contradict that assumption.

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Humidity, hunger and heartbreak were the takeaways from the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix. A proper track with a wider variety of straights and corners than the street circuit in Australia, the second race of the season was expected to be a better test of the performance of the 11 teams on the grid. It was also supposed to be a more accurate test of the Pirelli tires, the bits of rubber at the four corners of the car still at the top of the performance agenda for all the top teams except for

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Honda and Malaysia's Proton have signed an agreement to work together, but before we go and start dreaming about a Lotus-derived Honda S2000 successor, Automotive News Europe breaks down what the deal could mean for both automakers. Proton (parent company of Lotus) has been trying to build a relationship with bigger automakers (including Volkswagen) since being acquired by DRB-Hicom back in January, but this agreement with Honda could be a great opportunity for the rebuilding automaker to grow.

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The friction between Volkswagen and Proton continues, but this time it's coming from Germany, not Malaysia. The two firms have talked about some sort of partnership, or VW buying Proton outright, intermittently going back to 2005. In 2007 a partnership was nixed after a year of talks, then in 2010 after more talks a partnership was nixed again. The landscape has changed since then, with Malaysian firm DRB-Hicom taking control Proton and buying out the Malaysian government's stake. Volkswagen is

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Honda announced the official debut of its Jazz Hybrid in Thailand, marking the Japanese automaker's continued efforts to broaden its hybrid-vehicle production outside of Japan.

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Honda broke ground on a production line at its Malaysian factory that will make hybrid versions of the Jazz (as the Fit is known in markets outside the U.S.) – as well as other vehicles – in an effort to more than double hybrid sales in the country.

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Formula 1 racing tends to work in cycles. One team is at the top for a year or two, then another emerges to dominate the next few. It's a trend that has seen the likes of Ferrari, McLaren, Renault (now known as Lotus) and even Brawn (today's Mercedes) win world championships, with Red Bull as the the most recent force to be reckoned with.

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Reports this week out of London indicate that Lotus CEO Dany Bahar seeks a partner, or even a purchaser, for the Hethel firm. Malaysian automaker Proton currently owns Lotus, but Proton was taken over in January when Malaysian auto parts supplier DRB-Hicom bought the government's controlling interest. The trend with new ownership is to put every project on the table for review, and with Lotus in the midst of massive initiatives – Esprit, Elan, Eterne, new Elise and in-house V8 – it m

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A deal has been reached to sell the Malaysian government's controlling, 43-percent stake in Proton Holdings Bhd to Malaysian conglomerate DRB-Hicom for $410 million. Rumors surrounding the deal have been in the news for a few months, with Proton's deteriorating profits leading to speculation about if the government would get out and who be the savior. Of course, the other big question was: what happens to Lotus in the event of a sale.

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There's a lot of smoke going on over at Lotus, but we still have a while to wait before we get the first evidence of fire: the new Lotus Espirit and it's in-house V8 won't be here until 2013. On the other side of the world, there's a fair bit of smoke and fire happening at Malaysian automaker Proton, which owns Lotus.

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Make them exempt from import and excise duties and "robust growth" will follow. That's Malaysia's hybrid and plug-in vehicle scheme. From now through December of 2013, all hybrid and plug-in vehicles sold in Malaysia will be completely exempt from import and export duties.

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General Electric and Malaysian automotive group Naza have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore the potential for electric vehicles in Southeast Asian nation. GE Asean chief executive officer, Stuart Dean, expects strong synergies to result from the collaboration and says that the joining of hands will be a catalyst for sustainable growth in several key economic sectors in Malaysia. In particular, Dean says that the electric vehicle segment will soon emerge as one of the sectors

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2012 Hyundai Accent 3D projection – Click above to watch the video after the jump

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