Singapore’s largest electric vehicle charging network to have 500 charging points islandwide by 2020

Amir Yusof Channel NewsAsia 19 Jun 18;

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s largest electric vehicle (EV) charging network - consisting of 500 charging points islandwide - will be made available in public areas such as malls, residential areas and business parks by 2020, Singapore Power (SP) Group announced on Tuesday (Jun 19).

The network, which SP Group said will be a boost for electric vehicle adoption in Singapore, will first be rolled out with 30 charging points that will be in operation by end-2018.

“Singapore is regarded as an ideal environment for EVs as it is highly urbanised and compact,” SP Group said.

“This pervasive charging network will plug a critical gap in scaling up EV adoption in Singapore by reducing range anxiety in EV drivers,” it added.

SP Group's head for strategic development Goh Chee Kiong told media that there is a concern among drivers that their vehicles will "run out of juice" when driving from point A to point B, and the launch of a large charging network is crucial to giving these drivers "peace of mind".

In tandem with the charging points, SP also announced the launch of two tenders for the network. The tenders are for the procurement of charging hardware for both AC (alternating current) and DC (direct current) chargers, and for the installation of the chargers.

The national utility company highlighted that of the 500 charging points, more than 100 will be 50kW-DC charging points, a fast charge technology that can fully charge an EV in 30 minutes.

According to SP Group, the technology allows EVs to be charged three to seven times faster than predominant EV chargers available in Singapore today, which are rated at 7.4kW.

"And that gives drivers more comfort when charging their EVs with us ... and provides them a faster turnaround time," explained Mr Goh.

MOBILE APP TO SHOWCASE CHARGING STATIONS

Additionally, the group will also be introducing an SP Group mobile application to allow drivers to locate available charging stations in Singapore.

Besides that, the application can also provide drivers with automated updates on their charging progress and electronic payment modes for use of the charging points.

"Through the app, we will be also be able to provide information to the EV drivers on whether charging has been completed as well as the charging duration of the cars," explained Mr Goh.

In terms of costs, Mr Goh explained that the pricing plan for the charging stations will be released closer to the launch of the network at the end of the year, but he confirmed that the pricing will be "tiered" based on the type of chargers.

In 2016, SP Group’s EV journey commenced when it started to convert its entire vehicle fleet to electric vehicles. As of Jun 19, the company said it has 30 EVs, with 40 charging points across 13 locations.

SP Group said the move allowed it to develop its capabilities to operate an internal charging network that will now be scaled up to a nationwide public charging network.

Source: CNA/zl(mn)


500 electric vehicle charging points to be rolled out by 2020
CYNTHIA CHOO Today Online 19 Jun 18;

SINGAPORE — In a bid to encourage more people to own electric vehicles (EV) in Singapore, utility provider Singapore Power (SP) will be installing 500 new charging points across the island by 2020, with the first batch of 30 operational by the end of this year.

Announcing the initiative on Tuesday (June 19), SP Group said the points will be accessible to drivers and located at shopping malls, residential areas, business parks and industrial sites, among others.

There are currently 40 EV charging points owned by SP Group islandwide, most of which are located at the firm's depots.

The upcoming roll-out will be the largest public EV charging network in Singapore, noted SP Group chief executive officer Wong Kim Yin.

Of the 500 charging points, more than 100 will be 50kW-DC (direct current) charging points, which is a fast charge technology that can fully charge an EV in less than 30 minutes. Existing chargers currently run at between 7.4kW and 8kW.

The higher speed charging points will reduce full charge times from about eight hours to 30 minutes, said SP Group head of strategic development Goh Chee Kiong. He pointed out that one of the main grouses of EV drivers is that their vehicles run "out of juice" after a day of driving, and the lack of chargers on the island.

There are currently only 5 DC chargers on the island, added Mr Goh.

SP Group is also developing a mobile application to allow EV users to make payments through the app. Users will also receive real-time information about the availability and the location of the charging points.

The pricing plans will be announced closer to the launch of the network.

SP Group also announced the launch of two tenders for the EV charging network.

These are for the procurement of charging hardware for both AC (alternating current) and DC chargers — which have power ratings ranging between 22kW and 50kW — and the installation of the chargers.

While SP Group said that it has yet to decide on the exact locations of the additional charging points, it welcomes recommendations by users and prospective drivers who are interested to have chargers installed near their premises.

SP Group is not the only firm providing public charging infrastructure for EVs here.

Red Dot Power announced in February that it would be partnering Finnish technology specialist PlugIT to install at least 50 charging stations islandwide by the end of 2019. Its first installation will begin in September.

Another electric charging service provider, Greenlots, has also installed 16 public charging stations at office buildings and shopping malls such as The Heeren.

Greenlots has plans to install another 50 by the end of the year, said its regional manager Terence Siew, who is also the president of the newly-founded EV association of Singapore.

INFRASTRUCTURE, CAR PRICES KEY TO EV ADOPTION

While the move by SP is aimed at getting more people to use EVs, EV adoption in Singapore had come under the spotlight earlier this month after Tesla founder Elon Musk claimed that Singapore’s policies are not supportive of such vehicles.

The LTA said in response that it encourages the adoption of greener and cleaner vehicles such as EVs, but that it is part of its approach to address emissions levels and air quality. The wider aim, said the LTA, is to achieve a car-lite society.

With 354 electric cars currently registered in Singapore as of May, the addition of 500 new charging points will see the latter outnumbering the number of EVs here.

However, Mr Wong said that investing in infrastructure is crucial to incentivise people to adopt EVs.

He said: “It’s a chicken and egg question, without charging points, people will not buy EVs. But without EVs, operators (will question) whether to invest in charging points. In this aspect, we are taking the lead.”

Mr Goh said that the implementation of a “pervasive charging network” will resolve the conundrum while addressing the “range anxiety” that some drivers have about how far EVs can go.

While boosting supporting infrastructure is key for the adoption of EVs, the move to add 500 additional charging points was met with some skepticism.

Citing the lack of demand for EVs, Dr Park Byung Joon, urban transport expert from the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) questioned the need to build more charging points.

He said: “There could be some concerns over why we are building up capacity when demand (for EVs) isn’t really there yet.

“Also, one doesn’t actually need a special outlet to charge vehicles, you can charge an EV with any kind of electrical outlet in Singapore.”

The uptake of EVs in Singapore also boils down to the price of the vehicles, said Dr Park, as he pointed out that the “upfront cost of buying an EV” is significantly higher than that of a normal petrol car.

Checks by TODAY found that the Ioniq Electric, the first mass-market, battery-powered electric car introduced here, is priced at about S$137,000, while other variants of Hyundai petrol cars like the Elantra costs within the $70,000 to S$80,000 range.

Mr Siew, however, felt that a public charging network is still important to support users who live in public housing and condominiums.

“While charging EVs may not be an issue for those who live in landed properties, a large majority of people in Singapore still live in HDBs and condominiums and they might not necessarily have access to charging points in their vicinity,” he said.

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