Neta V e-SUV launched, priced from RM100,000

Affordability is important if the transition to EVs can be made by a large segment of buyers. Having totally new technology, EVs have been priced higher than cars with combustion engines which have been in production for over 100 years. For this reason, many governments – including Malaysia’s – have provided incentives in various forms to lower the prices of EVs.

But with volumes rising rapidly, costs are also coming down and especially in China, which began its push towards EVs around 15 years ago, the manufacturers have reached very large volumes and advanced their technologies significantly. As a result, they have economies of scale and can now export their products at prices which are lower than EVs from the established carmakers.

Neta V EV [2023]

Most people now know about BYD as the world’s largest EV manufacturer but besides that company, there are estimated to be some 300 companies making EVs in China, producing about half of all the EVs in the world last year. They make all types of EVs with a broad spectrum of prices from very low-cost to high cost for premium products like HiPhi X.

Among them is Holon Auto which is a relatively young company, having been founded in 2009 and launching its first EV model in 2018 under the Neta brand. Since then, it has been growing steadily and with the aim of doubling its sales this year to 300,000 units, it has started an export offensive targeting ASEAN markets such as Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.

Neta V EV [2023]

In Malaysia, it has partnered the GoAuto Group which will import and distribute Neta EVs through its Intro Synergy subsidiary. GoAuto is no stranger to the auto business, having started 10 years ago and since then, has been involved in virtually all aspects of the automotive business, including manufacturing.

GoAuto was the company which brought GWM’s Haval SUVs to Malaysia and then assembled them at its own plant in Kedah. However, GoAuto embarked on a new direction and as has often happened when a market becomes big enough, the carmaker decides to come in and have direct involvement, which is what GWM has done in the past year.

Neta V EV [2023]

Experience with Chinese carmakers
So GoAuto has the experience of working with a Chinese carmaker and now it is teaming up with Holon Auto, initially selling the Neta V SUV as a CBU (completely built-up) imported vehicle and later on assembling it locally at a new factory in Negeri Sembilan.

Neta V EV [2023]

Neta V EV [2023]

The Neta V (also known as Aya in China) is priced from RM100,000, a price level which makes it among the cheapest EVs in the market, along with the BYD Dolphin. Well aware that Neta is a completely new brand which Malaysians have never heard of before, there is going to be some concern about the durability and reliability of the vehicle. Some people still have bad memories of the early cars from China though they have come a long way and are much better today. To be fair, the Japanese brands also started the same way and then became better over time.

Gving confidence to customers to buy
To give confidence to those who consider buying the Neta V, Intro Energy is giving a warranty of 10 years (or maximum of 200,000 kms) for the bodywork, 5 years/150,000 kms for general parts, and 8 years/180,000 kms for the battery pack. Additionally, there is also a consumable parts warranty of 12 months/20,000 kms or 6 months/5,000 kms, depending on the part.

Customers can include two optional packages, one being a financing offer that is interest-free for up to 7 years (subject to terms and conditions), and an EV Starter Package. The latter includes a home charger unit (with installation), insurance and additional vehicle features.

Neta V EV

Compact SUV size
The Neta V has an overall length of 4070 mm and width of 1690 mm, which makes it similar in size to a Perodua Ativa. Its wheelbase is rather short, though, at 2420 mm whereas the Ativa’s is 2525 mm. However, electric powertrain occupies less space so the shorter wheelbase is probably not a negative point.

EVs are heavier than their combustion engine counterparts, mainly due to the battery pack. Holon Auto seems to have kept the difference to about 120 kgs more than the Ativa and this could be due to using a modestly-sized battery pack with a capacity of 40.7 kWh (the BYD Dolphin’s is 44.9 kWh).

Neta V EV [2023]

Up to 380 kms range
There’s only a single motor with an output of 70 kW (95 ps)/160 Nm with power going to the front wheels through a single-speed direct drive transmission. Though the battery capacity is small, the range of the Neta V is said to be between 300 and 380 kms, which should be sufficient for most motoring needs.

Because the battery pack is not very large in capacity, its recharging time from 20% to 80% is said to be within 30 minutes when using a DC fast-charger. It can also be charged from an AC outlet but the time would be longer (about 8 hours).

Neta V [2023]

Neta V EV [2023]
Interestingly, there are charging ports on both sides of the car though the lid on the left side cannot be opened.

Those who opt for the EV Starter package will also have V2L capability with the vehicle. This allows up to 3.3 kW of electricity from the battery pack to be used for powering external devices. You can think of it like having a ‘mobile powerbank’.

Neta V EV [2023]

Neta V EV [2023]

Minimalist concept for interior
The interior is clean and simple, adopting a Hi-tech Minimalist Concept. The dashboard, with its symmetry, has been designed for easy conversion between lefthand and righthand drive models. Driving information is shown on a slim display almost at the base of the windscreen, while in the middle of the dashboard is a large angled 14.6-inch display panel in portrait format. This provides plenty of space for all types of information and apps.

Neta V EV [2023]

There’s  reasonable space for the rear passengers and further back, the cargo area has minimal intrusions. With the rear backrests up, the volume is 335 litres, and with the backrests folded, the volume can be up to 552 litres.

Neta V EV [2023]

First passenger car EV brand
Speaking at the official launch of the Neta V today, GoAuto Group Chairman, Dato’ SM Azli SM Nasimuddin Kamal, said that the company has already been involved in EV business for some years. The Neta brand is its first passenger car EV brand.

“Through various partnerships and our own Group investments, we are committed to expanding our operations to allow consumers access to more EV products. We are now planning to carry out manufacturing and assembly of various types of electric vehicles at a new factory in Negeri Sembilan,” he said, referring to NEXV Manufacturing, a joint venture between GoAuto and Careplus Group Bhd.

GoAuto Group
The GoAuto Group has many years of experience in virtually all aspects of the automotive industry, including manufacturing and assembly of motor vehicles (including motorcycles) and EVs.

“As Malaysia works its way through issues such as subsidy rationalisation and other energy transitions, the introduction of the Neta brand to the market signifies our commitment – as a local industry player – towards contributing to the national agenda,” added Dato’’ Azli.

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