Nation-wide electric car-sharing programme to begin mid-2017

Olivia Siong and Chan Luo Er, Channel NewsAsia 30 Jun 16;

SINGAPORE: The Republic is set to launch a nationwide electric car-sharing programme by the middle of 2017, with all HDB towns to benefit from the initiative by 2020.

BlueSG, a subsidiary of French conglomerate Bollore Group, signed an agreement with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and Economic Development Board (EDB).

The programme, also named BlueSG, will see 1,000 electric vehicles being deployed progressively in Singapore, with the first batch of 125 electric cars and 250 charging points to be introduced in towns like Ang Mo Kio, Jurong East and Punggol by mid next year.

Under the agreement, BlueSG will operate the programme for 10 years and install 2,000 charging points for electric vehicles island-wide. Up to 20 per cent of these will be available for public use, LTA and EDB said.

After this period, the Government will take over all charging points and make them available to the public, the authorities added.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said the programme would lay a foundation for the greater use of electric vehicles in Singapore.

"The programme will promote our car-lite and green-car vision," said Mr Khaw, adding that 2,000 parking lots would be set aside for the programme in each HDB town, and the CBD and key industrial areas.

"We have embarked on this electric vehicle trial because we see some potential in more widespread adoption of electric vehicles in Singapore. However, electric vehicles are not truly emissions-free," added Mr Khaw.

"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."

BlueSG is the first large-scale car-sharing programme of its kind that will allow users the flexibility of picking up a car at the starting point and returning it at their destination, unlike the more conventional model where users have to return the car to its original pick-up location, LTA and EDB said.

LTA chief executive Chew Men Leong said the BlueSG programme will provide commuters with an additional form of point-to-point mobility, especially for trips where taking public transport or taxis may not be as convenient.

"It will play an important role in our efforts to create a car-lite society, as car-sharing enables more people to have occasional access to the use of a car, without having to own one. At the same time, it enables us to move towards a greener and more sustainable transport system, by laying the foundations of a nationwide EV charging infrastructure to support wider adoption of EVs," said Mr Chew.

LTA and EDB said Bollore Group was selected out of 13 operators that responded to a request for information exercise in December 2014 based on the quality of its proposal and its strong track record.

In partnership with EDB, BlueSG will also undertake new "high-value" economic activities and create about 250 jobs in the first five years of the programme, set up a Global Innovation Centre to undertake research and development work in the areas of mobility and energy management solutions, and establish its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore to oversee its e-mobility, energy management and system integration business for the region, the authorities said.

ATTRACTIVE PRICING IMPORTANT FOR PROGRAMME'S SUCCESS: EXPERTS

Chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport Sitoh Yih Pin told Channel NewsAsia the one concern he has about BlueSG is its pricing.

"As with many things in life, and particularly in business, the price is very important. The price that BlueSG is going to charge, hopefully, should be attractive and acceptable for the public to use," he said.

Car-sharing Association Singapore's president, Lai Meng, added that BlueSG has to note that unlike cities like Paris, London and New York, Singapore has "very inexpensive" taxi fares.

"One-way car-sharing has to offer a different proposition to make it more attractive for commuters to adopt it," he said.

- CNA/mz

You can share an electric car with strangers by mid-2017
AsiaOne 30 Jun 16;

SINGAPORE - A nationwide electric car-sharing programme is set to become part of Singapore's sharing economy when it launches here in the middle of 2017.

BlueSG is the first large-scale car sharing programme of its kind that will allow users the flexibility of picking up a car at the starting point and returning it at their destination.

This is unlike the more conventional model where users have to return the car to its original pick up location, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and Economic Development Board (EDB) said.

Under the programme, 1,000 electric cars will be deployed progressively in Singapore.

The first batch of 125 electric cars and 250 charging points will be rolled out in Ang Mo Kio, Jurong East and Punggol by mid 2017.

BlueSG is a subsidiary of French conglomerate Bollore Group. It signed an agreement with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and Economic Development Board (EDB).

According to media reports, BlueSG will operate the programme for 10 years and install 2,000 charging points for electric vehicles throughout the country.

Up to 20 per cent of these will be available for public use.

When the 10 years are up, the Government will make all charging points available to the public.

"The programme will promote our car-lite and green-car vision," said Transport Minister Mr Khaw Boon Wan at the signing ceremony.

He added that 2,000 parking lots would be set aside for the programme in each HDB town, and the CBD and key industrial areas.

MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC Melvin Yong tried driving the electric car on Thursday afternoon (June 30).

He wrote on Facebook: "The electric vehicle is compact, easy to drive and very quiet - almost like driving a big-sized buggy on the road. It also does not produce tail-pipe emissions, making it more eco-friendly."


Singapore to launch electric vehicle car-sharing programme in 2017
TOH EE MING Today Online 30 Jun 16;

SINGAPORE — Come next year, you might be able to book an electric car through an app on your phone, pick it up at a Housing and Development Board (HDB) block, and return it to a parking lot booked in advance near your destination, where another driver can pick it up.

This is part of Singapore’s first large-scale, nationwide electric car-sharing programme to be launched by the middle of next year, with the first batch of 125 electric vehicles (EV) and 250 charging points to be rolled out in towns such as Ang Mo Kio, Jurong East and Punggol.

The 10-year programme will be developed and operated by BlueSG, a subsidiary of the Bollore Group, which operates the largest fully-electric car sharing programme in the world, with operations in cities such as Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon and Indianapolis.

Pricing details are still being worked out, but the service will operate on a subscription basis, and members could be charged less than S$10 for a 15-minute journey.

Speaking at the signing ceremony on Thursday (June 30) afternoon, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said: “Car sharing allows more people to have access to a car without needing to own one … 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,” he said.

There are also plans to conduct fleet-based trials involving e-taxis and e-buses, with details to be released in due course.

Bollore’s proposal beat 12 others, after more than a year of “careful evaluation” by government agencies such as the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and Economic Development Board.

By 2020, a total of 1,000 electric cars will be rolled out under the programme, as well as 500 BlueSG stations and 2,000 charging points. These will be located at all HDB towns, the CBD and key industrial areas.

A total of 2,000 parking lots will also be set aside. And up to 20 per cent of the charging points will eventually be made available for public use.

Mr Khaw added: “While car sharing has been widely adopted in Europe, and is growing rapidly in the United States, it is currently a small market in Singapore ... We hope to see car sharing usage rise through collaborations such as (this one).”

He noted that Singapore has a total of 300 shared cars and 10,000 users, a number he hopes to raise “10-fold”.

As part of efforts to support EV use, the Government will also adopt a nationwide public charging standard from August. All new charging stations installed in publicly accessible areas will use the European Type 2 AC charging standard, which can charge a vehicle in one to two hours.

The EV fleet by BlueSG will not affect the current demand for cars as they will not be considered within the COE quota system.

Mr Franck Vitte, head of Asia at Blue Solutions, which is part of the Bollore Group, said the take-up rate was a little “slow” when the service was introduced in Paris.

Now, it has a total fleet size of 4,000 EVs, with more than 120,000 members in the city.

“We want to be close to where people live, play and work, and where there’s a density of population where a lot of people can benefit ... That’s where the success comes very quickly,” he said.

BlueSG will also set up a centre here for its partners to develop, test and implement innovations in areas such as mobility and data analysis. It is expected to create about 250 jobs in Singapore in the first five years of the programme.

Dr Park Byung Joon, a senior lecturer at SIM University, called the flexibility of such a system a “good starting point” towards fulfilling Singapore’s vision of a car-lite society.

“If you look at the Western world, that’s the direction everyone is heading for … operators can start with a small number, but when it’s more successful, they can look at doubling their fleets quickly,” he said.

National University of Singapore transport researcher Lee Der-Horng noted that Singapore’s flat landscape and small size is conducive for EV technology to take off, especially with more charging stations available.

But while Singaporeans might be “receptive” to car sharing schemes, price remains an obstacle to EV adoption. “If the Government wants to promote EV ownership in the long term, it would also have to provide different price considerations to make it (cheaper) and more attractive to own,” he said.

Communications executive Thrina Tham, 24, who drives the family car once a week, welcomed having an alternative to buying her own car.

“It’s a good alternative if they can find ways to integrate such a system seamlessly with public transport, and make it convenient and accessible …You don’t have to pay for petrol, or the parking fees … It’s definitely something I would consider as an option,” she said.

Correction: In an earlier version of this story, we said the goal was to get 10,000 electric cars on the road under the programme. This is incorrect. We apologise for the error.

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