Earlier in April, transport operator SMRT announced that it aims to fully electrify its entire taxi fleet within the next five years to help reduce the total carbon footprint by an estimated 20,000 tonnes per year.
SMRT Road Holdings president Tan Kian Heong had said that SMRT is “among the first point-to-point transport operators to commit to the deployment of electric taxis on a large scale.”
The first batch of 15 electric taxis was launched yesterday (August 30). A total of 300 electric vehicles operated by Strides Taxi — formerly SMRT Taxi and a subsidiary of Strides Mobility — will serve passengers by the end of the year.
Strides’ electric vehicles are called MG5 and are new to the Singapore market. It can travel for up to 300km on a full charge, and takes 40 minutes to charge a vehicle to 80 per cent capacity.
Drivers currently have access to about 140 EV charging points at 80 locations across Singapore.
“When all 300 MG5s are on the road, Strides Taxi will become the taxi operator with the largest fleet of EVs in Singapore,” said the companies in a joint media release.
“Compared to a hybrid car, the cost of charging for Strides Taxi partners is more economical. In one month, a partner driving the MG5 could save around S$300 on energy costs,” they added.
To encourage drivers to be “early adopters” of its electric taxis, Strides Taxi is offering free rental on the MG5 vehicle and unlimited charging for the first 30 days.
It has also worked with SP Group and Shell “to provide convenience and discounts for (drivers’) charging needs”.
Electric taxis will be on the rise
This shift towards EVs in line with the government’s push for electric vehicle adoption in Singapore.
In this year’s Budget speech, Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that the government will set aside S$30 million over the next five years for EV-related initiatives, such as measures to improve charging provision at private premises.
This is meant to catalyse the partnership between the public and private sectors, and comes as Singapore is accelerating the development of its charging infrastructure.
In addition, the government aims to deploy 60,000 charging points by 2030 — more than double its initial target of 28,000. It will also narrow the cost differential between electric cars and internal combustion engine (ICE) cars to further encourage the early adoption of EVs.
Electric taxis are nothing new in Singapore though. In 2017, HDT Singapore Taxi rolled out Singapore’s first fleet of electric taxis, though the company has since ceased operations last December due to the pandemic.
In May 2018, another local taxi company ComfortDelGro added 200 new Hyundai Ioniq Hybrids to its fleet.
Shortly after, ride-hailing giant Grab also decided to electrify its fleet as it announced the addition of 200 electric vehicles in partnership with SP Group in January 2019.
As Singapore works on electrifying the cars on the roads, it’s likely that there will be more electric taxis to come.
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Featured Image Credit: Strides Taxi