Electric cars to run here next year

Vehicles will debut as part of three-year study to test infrastructure
Maria Almenoar, Straits Times 21 Nov 09;

Mitsubishi wiill be bringing in up to 50 i-MiEV models (above) for use in $20 million study. The cars are about $100,000 more expensive than their petro-powered version. -- ST PHOTO: LEE NIAN TJOE

ELECTRIC cars will start plying Singapore roads from September next year, as part of a three-year study to test the infrastructure needed to keep them running here.

Japanese car maker Mitsubishi is bringing in up to 50 i-MiEV models for use in the $20 million study, and more cars from Renault-Nissan are expected in 2011.

The Energy Market Authority (EMA) and the Land Transport Authority will also call for tenders from companies interested in building charging stations for these vehicles.

Singapore can reduce up to 4 per cent of its land transport sector's carbon emissions by 2020 if just 2 per cent of the vehicles here were electric-powered, said EMA. That would mean a total of 16,000 full-electric cars here.

Said EMA's deputy chief executive David Tan yesterday at the Plug-In Singapore conference: 'Singapore is an ideal location for such a test-bed with its size, compact urban environment, robust power grid and infocomm technology infrastructure.'

Mitsubishi will sell its electric cars to any company willing to take part in the study for between $80,000 and $90,000, lower than the $160,000 estimated retail price.

Participants will need to collect data on the mileage clocked and the frequency and ease of plugging in and recharging, among other things.

High upfront costs of owning an electric car have hobbled its sale elsewhere. Mitsubishi's make, at $160,000, is about $100,000 more expensive than the petrol-run version.

Inconvenient access to a charging station is another factor.

The EMA is working with the Housing Board and town councils on building charging stations to serve HDB residents and taxi drivers.

Private home owners can buy their own charging device which costs about US$200 (S$278).

The announcement made at the conference aroused much interest from delegates who were makers of electric vehicles and parts, and charging station builders from around the world, as well as academics.

The vice-president of corporate development for United States-based ECOtality, Mr Colin Read, said his company was considering putting in a tender bid to build charging stations.

His company is working on technology that allows electric vehicles to draw power from the grid, or power network that delivers electricity, during off-peak hours and to sell the power back to the grid during peak periods.

Detroit Vehicles' chief executive Albert Lam said he was willing to bring in 500 electric cars for sale here by next year and set up an educational store to explain electric vehicle technology to motorists.

'The fact is that electric vehicles are not something in the future and don't need to be tested. They are ready, they are here and they are now,' he said.

He added that Detroit Vehicles' models, which include a sedan and sports model, can cost as low as US$26,000 because he is mass producing batteries and parts to lower costs.

Batteries, which are generally the costliest part of electric vehicles, can also be leased to users to minimise upfront costs, he said.

Globally, the US is the leader in electric car use with about 10,000 electric vehicles and 750,000 hybrid-electric vehicles on the road.

EMA is considering more incentives to encourage motorists to go electric.

Currently, owners of hybrid, compressed natural gas and electric cars get a 40 per cent cut in the Additional Registration Fee, which is the main car tax.



Singapore can reduce up to 4 per cent of its land transport sector's carbon emissions by 2020 if just 2 per cent of the vehicles here were electric-powered, said EMA.

Key facts on the i-MiEV

# Top speed is about 140kmh

# Can accelerate to 100kmh in about nine seconds

# Can cover 80km under a single charge

# Costs about four cents per km to run, compared to just over 11 cents per km for the petrol-powered version.

# Produces one-third the carbon dioxide of a petrol-powered version.

First batch of 50 electric vehicles to arrive next year
Channel NewsAsia 20 Nov 09;

SINGAPORE: Singapore will receive its first batch of electric vehicles (EVs) next year as part of a national EV test-bedding programme.

The Energy Market Authority (EMA) said on Friday 50 Mitsubishi EVs will make their way here from September.

EMA's deputy chief executive, David Tan, said the authority is now looking for companies to participate in the programme and be an early adopter of EVs in Singapore.

They will be required to collate data on the performance of the EVs. These include their driving range between charges, ease of charging, annual mileage and total costs of operation.

The data collected will be key in evaluating the costs and benefits, and overall feasibility of the future adoption of EVs here.

Mr Tan said a multi-agency EV Taskforce will also be rolling out a small network of charging stations. A competitive tender will be launched next year.

On top of that, a study will be carried out to determine the number of EV charging stations and their specific locations. Most of the charging is expected to be done overnight in the car parks of the EV users' homes or offices.

The deployment of these EV charging stations will be timed to coincide with the actual take-up of EVs under the testbedding programme.

The programme, which will run for three years from next year, will be driven by the EMA and the Land Transport Authority.

Mr Tan said he expects the use of EVs to pick up from 2015 and become fully commercially viable and ready for the mass market after 2020.- CNA/so

Electric dream to be a reality next year
Ong Dai Lin, Today Online 21 Nov 09;

SINGAPORE - Electric cars will finally power their way to Singapore roads next year, in not one but two separate - and quite contrasting - experiments.

On one side: Team Mitsubishi and the Energy Market Authority (EMA). This national electric vehicle test-bed project involves bringing in some 50 electric cars, selling them to companies keen to test them out, collating data on vehicle performance, and basically ironing out the kinks before - possibly - going fully mass market in 2020.

On the other side: Team Detroit Electric. Betting on market forces instead of controlled test-bedding, the Netherlands-based company has daring plans to hit the Singapore market next year with 500 electric cars, with ideas to educate and win over consumers along the way.

From next September, the 50 Mitsubishi I-MiEV cars will be available here, and EMA deputy chief executive David Tan is looking for interested companies to take part in the three-year project.

They will need to buy the car, which costs between $89,000 and $99,000, as well as collate data such as the vehicle's annual mileage, ease of charging and total costs of operation. This will be vital in evaluating the costs, benefits and overall feasibility of adopting electric vehicles here.

Another car-maker, Renault-Nissan, will also send its electric cars to Singapore for the test-bedding programme once its vehicles are ready for commercial sale in 2011.

The $20-million programme to study the feasibility of introducing electric vehicles here was first announced in May.

Giving more details on Friday, Mr Tan said a small network of charging stations would be rolled out, with the EMA launching a tender next year for an infrastructure service provider.

Mr Tan expects most of the charging to be done overnight in the car parks of the drivers' homes or offices. As there is no commonly-accepted global standard for the power-charging cable, the EMA will work on a public charging systems guide.

Detroit Electric, on its part, will launch its first electric vehicles by the end of next year in Europe, priced at between US$23,000 ($32,000) and US$33,000.

Company chairman and CEO Albert Lam intends to introduce 500 electric cars each to Singapore and Hong Kong, and build a "Detroit Experience Centre" here to educate consumers.

He said he was negotiating with shopping malls to rent a floor of their parking lots to install charging points.

While he described the Government's plans as "very encouraging", he didn't see the need for a wait-and-see study.

"Three years later, there will be new devices, new energy sources and new batteries," said Mr Lam. "To me, electric cars are ready now, why not let market forces drive demand?"

But whether Singapore drivers are convinced of the electric car's merits remains to be seen.

Gentlemen, charge up your vehicles
Electric vehicle charging stations planned with Mitsubishi cars on their way
Samuel Ee, Business Times 21 Nov 09;

A SMALL network of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations could be in place by 2012 here, as the first batch of up to 50 Mitsubishi i-MiEV cars arrives from September 2010 onwards.

It is part of a $20 million programme to support infrastructure development and test-bed EVs in Singapore. This test-bed - starting next year - will run for three years, that is, until 2012, and will be driven by the multi-agency EV Taskforce, co-chaired by the Energy Market Authority (EMA) and the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

'We will launch a competitive tender next year to select an EV infrastructure service provider,' David Tan, EMA deputy chief executive announced in a speech yesterday at the Plug-In Singapore 2009 alternative energy vehicle conference.

He said a study will be carried out to determine the number of EV charging stations required and their specific locations. Although he did not reveal the exact number of stations, it is understood that there will be at least 50, or one for each of the electric Mitsubishi cars. The total number will depend on the results of the study.

In addition to Mitsubishi, the EV Taskforce is also working with other car manufacturers to secure a supply of EVs for Singapore. Renault-Nissan, for example, will make its EVs commercially available in 2011.

Mr Tan added: 'In general, we expect most of the charging to be done overnight in the car parks of the EV users' homes or offices. The deployment of these EV charging stations will be timed to coincide with the actual take-up of EVs under the test-bed.'

He said interested companies are invited to participate in the test-bed and be early adopters of EVs in Singapore.

The national EV test-bedding programme was launched in May to provide an open platform for all car manufacturers and technology companies to examine the infrastructure requirements of an EV system.

The test-bed also aims to test the performance of EVs under local road conditions and in the tropical environment, and to identify related industry and R&D opportunities.

Mr Tan said several factors make Singapore an ideal location to launch such a test-bed. As a small and densely built-up urban city-state, average driving distances are short at less than 55km per day, or well within a fully charged EV's 90-160km range.

The Republic also has a robust power grid, and information and communication technologies infrastructure, as well as technology and research expertise in electronics, power and precision engineering.

According to Mr Tan, the global use of EVs is expected to pick up from 2015 and become fully commercially viable and ready for the mass market after 2020.

He added that EMA is also interested in the concept of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) power, where V2G solutions allow EVs to draw power from the grid during off- peak periods and sell power to the grid during peak periods.

'This will make load levelling possible and allow for a more efficient operation of the power system,' he said.

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