The Malaysian government has given the green light to national car maker Proton to begin "in-depth validation and testing" of electric cars. The announcement came after the Cabinet Committee on Inflation received a briefing on the role e-cars can have in reducing the consumption of petrol and diesel. Prime minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who seemed to be completely behind the idea, expressed hope that commercialization of the project could begin in a years time. As part of the announcement, the politician went for a ride in an electric Lotus Elise converted and supplied by Dutch company, Electric Cars Europe (ECE). Interestingly, Detroit Electric was named, along with PRO Dis-T, as one of the companies that Proton would be working with to "fine-tune" the car. In a somewhat convoluted web of alliances, Detroit Electric is a joint venture between Chinese firm, Youngman Automotive Group and ZAP! which is headed by Albert Lam, formerly of Lotus, which is owned by Proton. Youngman currently rebadges the Proton GEN2 as the Europestar RCR for the Chinese market. Also, Electric Cars Europe, as we recently informed you, has plans to bring ZAP/Detroit Electric vehicles, including the famous Alias, to the European market. It wasn't stated which model Proton would be initially using for the project but the ECE website shows the Savvy (pictured above) as one of the models it has targeted for production in 2009. We await further announcements to make the room stop spinning.

[Source: The New Straits Times / PaulTan.org]

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