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Nation-wide electric car-sharing scheme to start in mid-2017

Friday, July 1, 2016 - 05:50
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A nation-wide electric vehicle (EV) car-sharing programme will be launched in mid-2017, starting with 125 cars and 200 charging points initially.

Singapore

A NATION-WIDE electric vehicle (EV) car-sharing programme will be launched in mid-2017, starting with 125 cars and 200 charging points initially.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and Economic Development Board (EDB) announced on Thursday the contract awarded to France's Bolloré Group, which will operate the programme for 10 years.

The EV car-sharing programme, called BlueSG, will eventually deploy 1,000 electric cars and install 2,000 charging points in the first four years. There will also be 2,000 parking spaces set aside in every HDB town, the central business district and key industrial areas.

BlueSG said that 80 per cent of the stations will be in HDB and residential areas, with 20 per cent of the points available for any EV. A membership is required but what distinguishes BlueSG from other car-sharing schemes is that it will be a large-scale, one-way programme - users may return the car at their destination and not the original pick-up point.

BlueSG, LTA and EDB declined to comment on the investment amount, and would only describe it as "hefty".

They did reveal, however, that the Singapore government would "co-fund" the charging infrastructure because it will be handed over to the government after 10 years.

As for the 1,000 cars, BlueSG will pay the full vehicular taxes required. While this includes the COE premium, no actual COEs are needed for registration of the EV, meaning there will be no impact on the COE quota.

The three-door, four-seater BlueSG EV is available for sale in France at 18,000 euros (S$26,995) each. Assuming this includes a 10 per cent profit margin, Bolloré could be spending about S$100 million on the EV fleet alone.

Bolloré was chosen from 13 proposals after more than a year of evaluation; it was selected because its 1,000 EVs and 2,000 charging points were the highest proposed.

Bolloré already runs EV car-sharing programmes in France, Italy and the US. In Paris, for example, its Autolib scheme has a fleet of 4,000 cars and 130,000 regular users.

Also announced on Thursday was the adoption of the Type 2 AC standard as the national charging standard for Singapore from Aug 1 this year.

Type 2 is a European charging interface compatible with both single-phase and three-phase power supplies.

Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan, who was at the signing ceremony on Thursday, said he hopes to see car-sharing usage rise through collaborations such as this.

While car-sharing has been widely adopted in Europe and is growing rapidly in the US, he says the market in Singapore is small, with a total fleet of only 300 shared cars and 10,000 users.

Mr Khaw said BlueSG's one-way model is "more convenient for the user, and also suits the electric car which has a shorter range".

While EVs do not generate heat and have zero emissions, they are not truly emissions-free, he noted.

"The power they consume produces emissions at the power station, but most electric vehicles are quieter than conventional vehicles, and do not have tail-pipe emissions. This makes for a better living environment, particularly in a dense city like ours. It is for this reason that we will continue to study the viability of using electric buses."

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