European carmakers would not be affected by the current dispute between Malaysia and the European Union (EU) over consumption of palm oil for biofuels in the continent.
Malaysia Automotive Robotics and IoT Institute (MaRii) CEO Datuk Madani Sahari (picture) said the agency has received support from European original equipment manufacturers to continue using the blend of the edible oil in their engine.
“We are currently working with them to enhance the biodiesel usage. Actually, in Europe, they are planning to mix their oil with other raw material such as cottonseed oil and red seed oil.
“We are looking forward to helping them understand the benefit of using palm oil in biodiesel blends. It is much the same as what is used in Europe,” he told the press after signing the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between MaRii and Altair Inc and ORS Technologies Sdn Bhd in Cyberjaya last Friday.
The differences between Malaysia and European countries have heightened after Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the country may react by banning some EU products in retaliation to the passing of anti-palm oil discriminative law that is slated to be tabled latest by May.
The delegated law if tabled and passed aims to restrict palm oil use in biofuel production and eliminate its total use by 2030.
There are now several European carmakers operating in Malaysia including French carmaker Groupe PSA, which owns the Peugeot and Citroen brand. Groupe PSA has bought into the Naza Automotive Manufacturing Sdn Bhd’s plant in Gurun, Kedah.
In Kulim, BMW Group Malaysia partners Sime Darby Auto Engineering to produce certain variants of its 3-Series and 5-Series BMW models at the RM132 million plant.
Mercedez-Benz has an assembly line for its flagship S-Class in the last 30 years. The group now produces about 12 models locally at its production plant in Pekan, Pahang.
Madani said MaRii is working with the Primary Industries Ministry and Malaysian Palm Oil Board to establish a new research and development (R&D) centre to study the holistic application of biodiesel in the automotive industry.
Currently, Malaysia has mandated B10 blend (a 10% palm oil blend in the diesel) for the transport sector.
“We will cooperate with car manufacturers on the R&D centre including the European automakers,” Madani said.
“Blended oil can reduce the carbon emission and could be a fuel saver,” he added.
On a separate note, Madani said the next National Automotive Policy (NAP), which has been delayed several times, will be introduced before the end of the year.
“The consultation with the stakeholders is almost done. We are doing some improvisation before the ministry could table the draft to the Cabinet,” he said, adding the NAP will address the automotive sector direction for the next 10-year period.
He said it will also discuss the regulatory framework of autonomous vehicle, as well as the flying car.
MaRii also inked an MoU with Altair and ORS Technology to collaborate on products and process development optimisation through the application of digital twin technologies.
“The application of digital twin technologies unlocks a myriad of new possibilities for the automotive design process and others,” Madani said.