PROTON had just sent off a team of sixteen to Hangzhou, China, for a six-month training stint to learn about new energy vehicles (NEV).
The team will be based at the renowned Geely Research Institute in Ningbo and be trained in multiple disciplines involved in the development, integration, manufacturing, and sales and service for a new generation of vehicles that will gradually be introduced by the national automotive brand.
The group is the first from PROTON to undergo NEV training. The team is a mix of experienced industry workers and young engineers who graduated from the company’s Young Talent programme. PROTON has plans to send more staff in the future to leverage on the technical knowledge of Geely to develop its own range of NEVs.
“When PROTON and Geely started collaborating in 2017, one of the pillars of the partnership was for PROTON to accelerate its model development timetable by incorporating technologies readily available from Geely. That has been successfully done and now, we are leveraging on the global experience of the group in NEVs to give our own model development timeline a boost.
“Our initial plan was for the programme to begin sooner but this was put on hold by the pandemic. However, with travel restrictions having eased recently, PROTON can now reap the benefit of being part of one of the most diverse and forward-thinking collective of automotive brands,” said Dr Li Chunrong, Chief Executive Officer, PROTON.
Investing in Human Capital for the Future
Besides receiving training in NEVs, the work attachment in China will aid the team in deciding the final specifications for upcoming products such as the smart #1, the first EV to be sold by PROTON’s NEV subsidiary PRO-NET. As usage patterns and user behaviour differ from country to country, input from PROTON staff will be vital to ensure that it meets the needs of Malaysian buyers. smart #1 is due to arrive in Malaysia in Q4 2023.
Looking a little further ahead, the training programmes will help to strengthen collaborative efforts as PROTON staff get involved in multiple disciplines earlier in the development process to finetune upcoming offerings to local market requirements. The ultimate goal however is for the acquisition of knowledge and new skills that will help steer the company in the future.
“PROTON invests in knowledge acquisition for our staff as we believe it is the best way for the company to move forward. The experience and training they gain will not only benefit the company but indirectly, it will also help raise the skill level of Malaysia’s automotive industry as more staff members are sent for training. This is one of the reasons why PROTON was established, and the company is proud to be able to fulfil that aim,” added Li Chunrong.