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Singapore Aims For ‘Car-Lite’ Society, Tests Out Electric Vehicle Car-Sharing Programme

Singapore is moving a step forward in its efforts to maintain a greener environment. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and Economic Development Board (EDB) yesterday announced plans to put an electric vehicle (EV) car-sharing programme into trial.

The programme will see the introduction of up to 1,000 EVs and the charging infrastructure to support their use. It will also enable the government to gain better understanding of the operating models as well as support required for EVs to succeed on a larger scale in the country.

Image credit: The Keep Calm-O-Matic
Image Credit: The Keep Calm-O-Matic

EDB managing director Yeoh Keat Chuan said in a joint statement with EDB yesterday that the pilot programme is aiming to provide a sizeable platform for industry players in the e-mobility ecosystem to develop, test and commercialise innovative solutions.

“The pilot will help Singapore to be a regional leader in developing new technologies and innovative business models in the electric vehicles and associated charging infrastructure landscape,” he added.

Technology Test Bed

A taskforce known as the inter-agency Electro-Mobility Singapore led by both LTA and EDB had issued a Request for Information (RFI) yesterday. The taskforce is currently seeking for a sustainable operational and business model for the programme. Interested parties should submit their proposals not later by 27 February 2015.

Through the trial programme, EMS taskforce aims to explore whether a one way car-sharing model is workable in the country. This means that users can pick up cars at one location and allow them to return the cars at a different destination.

Image credit: Yahoo! Singapore
Image Credit: Yahoo! Singapore

The first phase of the national EV test-bed concluded last year, having conducted two market perception surveys in 2011 and 2013 to find out more on end-users’ views on this new technology. So far, the reactions to the EVs were positive.

While 91% of test-bed users had indicated that the EVs were easy to drive and operate, 75% of the respondents would like to see improvements in areas such as range, battery life, and time taken to charge their vehicles. 66% also indicated that price reduction is critical to encourage widespread EV adoption.

Car-Sharing In Singapore?

The test-bed is now entering its second phase to explore fleet-based, shared car operations.

“Compared to privately-owned EVs, EV shared-car fleets have the potential of reaping economies of scale with higher daily mileage and potentially lower running cost,” EMS taskforce said.

“As we work towards a ‘car-lite’ society, car-sharing is one way to support a lifestyle that doesn’t require one to own or maintain a car, and where the majority of daily commute is on public transport, and the occasional travel which would be more convenient by car such as family outings on weekends or bulk shopping, can be enabled through participation in a car-sharing programme,” said LTA chief executive Chew Men Leong.

The Singapore public also seems to be open and ready for the idea of car-sharing. Tripda CEO Pedro Meduna said to Vulcan Post regarding the reception of its car-sharing services in Singapore, “In Singapore, we have seen a very open mindset to what we offer now. Our community is giving us supportive and positive feedback, which proves to us that we are on the right track.”

Looks like this vision on the future is set to happen!

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