Southeast Asia lags in electric vehicles. Can it catch up?

For self-confessed tech geek and adrenaline junkie Farhan Abdul Rahim, becoming one of the first Malaysians to own an electric car in 2020 was a no-brainer — but he didn’t simply stop there.

Last June, Farhan embarked on a three-day journey around the Malay peninsula in his Tesla — covering about 1,700km (1,050 miles) — seeking to prove that electric vehicles (EVs) can operate beyond cities and in rural parts of the Southeast Asian nation.

However, as a manager at state oil company Petronas and someone who helped the firm start considering establishing EV charging stations during coronavirus lockdowns in 2021, Farhan was acutely aware of the challenges facing such a journey.

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