Issue 1 | JANUARY 2012
Electric Vehicles: Test-driving the Future

The challenge for EVs is to convince car buyers of their value proposition – in terms of fuel and operating cost advantages and environmental benefits vs. ride comfort and car performance.

As concerns on the environment, energy prices and security mount, governments and automakers are increasingly turning to electric vehicles (EVs) as a promising alternative to conventional vehicles.

During the recent Singapore International Energy Week 2011, Mr S. Iswaran, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry, shared with the 900-strong audience of industry leaders that innovation and technological development is a key part of Singapore's strategy to overcome our energy constraints. Mr Iswaran said, "We (Singapore) seek to be a "Living Lab" for innovative energy solutions. The Government supports various projects and programmes that test new energy technologies that could be adopted in Singapore in future. One example is our electric vehicle test-bed programme."

The benefits of EVs include cuts in carbon emissions, oil-related economic and security gains. Despite the positives, EVs have yet to be fully embraced by the vehicular population due to its emerging nature. Potential buyers are hesitant to switch to EVs due to high upfront costs, limited range and long charging hours.

How Will EVs Fare in Singapore?

Singapore understands these fundamental concerns. That is why EMA, together with the Land Transport Authority (LTA), have set up an EV Taskforce in 2009. Incorporating lessons learnt from many similar test-beds and trials around the world, this multi-agency taskforce seeks to assess the nation-wide costs, benefits and feasibility of EV adoption in Singapore.

Singapore is uniquely positioned as one of the first cities in the world to test-bed a system level sustainable transport solution. It is small in geographical size, a high-density urban setting with an average daily passenger mileage of less than 60km. Also, its robust electricity grid and IT networks will allow necessary infrastructure deployment to support EV usage.

25 June 2011 saw the taskforce launch a three-year EV test-bed programme. It seeks to evaluate hypotheses on the levels and types of infrastructure required to support an EV population in Singapore, its costs and benefits, and the various business models associated with its local deployment.

Encouraging Developments

Thanks to partners like Robert Bosch (SEA) Pte Ltd (Bosch), Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (Mitsubishi) and Daimler South East Asia (Daimler), the EV test-bed has gotten off to a good start.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance came aboard in November 2011, and will be bringing in another 50 EVs including two new models – Renault Fluence and Nissan Leaf. To date, the test-bed has seen a healthy EV take-up and currently comprises 10 Bosch charging stations, 11 Mitsubishi i-MiEVs and five Daimler smart electric drive vehicles.

Singapore's First Quick Charging Station
From 0 – 80% in 30 minutes – that is how fast it takes to charge up an EV with the first quick-charging station which was launched on 28 November 2011 at the BCA Academy. Not only does it give users a much faster option to charge up their EVs, it will also facilitate better understanding on how a quick charging station affects the behaviour of EV users in Singapore.

Companies keen on purchasing and test-bedding an EV may visit our website at
www.ema.gov.sg/ev or drop us an enquiry at ema_ev@ema.gov.sg.
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