Electric car-sharing scheme launches with 2,000 members

LOUISA TANG Today Online 12 Dec 17;

BlueSG plans to ramp up its fleet from 80 to 110, and have 42 charging stations by the end of the year

SINGAPORE — Singapore launched its first large-scale electric car-sharing scheme on Tuesday (Dec 12), with operator BlueSG announcing more than 2,000 members have registered for the service.

Users will be charged according to how long they use a car, instead of the distance travelled. They may choose between two subscription plans — a “premium” yearly membership plan priced at S$15 a month, or a weekly membership plan with no recurring fees. It takes about eight hours for the car’s flat battery to be fully charged. Drivers will be alerted when the battery level reaches 30 per cent.

“Premium” members pay 33 cents a minute to rent a car, while weekly members pay a higher fee of 50 cents per minute. All users must rent the cars for at least 15 minutes.

As a special launch offer, those who sign up before the end of March next year will get free premium membership for a year.

For a start, there are 80 electric cars and 120 charging points at 32 stations, including heartland areas like Punggol and Bedok, across the island. Twenty-five charging stations will be located in public housing estates, while the other six can be found in the city centre. The remaining one is located in the Science Park.

By the end of the year, BlueSG — a subsidiary of French transportation firm Bollore Group — aims to have 110 cars and 165 charging points at 42 stations. On average, each station will have four charging points.

BlueSG managing director Franck Vitte said it is currently in talks with private developer City Developments Limited and is looking to install charging points at properties such as Republic Plaza.

“We also hope that the establishment of BlueSG’s charging network, and the setting of Type-2 charging as the nationwide standard, will pave the way for greater adoption of electric vehicles in Singapore, as we move towards a greener and more sustainable transport system,” said Land Transport Authority chief executive officer Ngien Hoon Ping.

Drivers can use the mobile application developed by BlueSG to make bookings and reserve a parking lot in advance. The app is currently available on Apple’s App Store and Google Play for Android phones.

A driver can clock up to 250km in a BlueSG car — a two-door, four-seater hatchback — on one full charge of its recyclable battery. The cars also have a built-in system for attaching children’s car seats.

BlueSG aims to put 1,000 electric vehicles on Singapore roads and install 2,000 charging points at 500 stations, with four-fifths of them in residential areas, by 2020. About 20 per cent of the charging points will be available for members of the public to charge other private electric cars.

This will make it the world’s second-biggest electric car-sharing scheme after the one in Paris, operated by Blue Solutions, which has more than 4,000 cars and 6,200 charging points. The scheme has been rolled out in several cities in the United States and Europe as well. Bollore Group owns BlueSG and Blue Solutions.

Subscription plans were opened on Dec 4 for those who wanted to sign up as members. Speaking at the launch held at the Singapore Flyer, Blue Solutions managing director Marie Bollore said she was “extremely encouraged” by the interest in the scheme here.

In comparison, operator Car Club, which was set up in 1997 and has become one of the bigger car-sharing companies here, has nearly 8,000 members, its managing director Gary Ong told TODAY. WhizzCar, another car-sharing firm that started operations in 2003, has more than 3,000 members, said its managing director Ho Kok Kee. Users pay between S$9 and S$15 an hour to use cars from firms such as Car Club and WhizzCar, depending on factors including the model of the vehicle and the duration of use. The operators, which run largely on a subscription model, also levy a membership fee – Car Club’s monthly membership rate is S$10.70, for instance.

In June last year, BlueSG signed an agreement with the authorities to operate its electric car-sharing service here for a decade.

The Bollore Group also plans to deploy other modes of public transport such as the Bluetram in Singapore, and create about 250 jobs in 2021.

The Bluetram, which can ply normal roads and take up to 22 people, will be piloted for two years at Nanyang Technological University starting early next year. There will be two charging stations located on the university’s campus.

TODAY previously reported a delay in BlueSG’s roll-out due to the need to streamline the process for authorisation to build the charging stations, a concept that is new to the market here. Mr Vitte had said various parties, such as the parking agencies and energy company SP Group, also had to be brought together.

BlueSG is also planning to open a Global Innovation Centre and work on research and development projects in the areas of mobility and energy management solutions. ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY KENNETH CHENG

Singapore's first electric car-sharing service rolls out with 80 vehicles
Afifah Ariffin Channel NewsAsia 12 Dec 17;

SINGAPORE: Singapore's first electric car-sharing service was officially launched on Tuesday (Dec 12), with 80 cars and 32 charging stations available for public use across the island.

The service, which is provided by BlueSG, is part of Singapore's plans to reduce reliance on private vehicles and encourage the use of public transport.

To use the cars, drivers need to subscribe to the service online or through the BlueSG app. They can either choose to receive a BlueSG member card or register their existing EZ-Link cards which drivers can use to book vehicles and even a parking lot in advance.

Since the app was launched last week, 2,000 users have signed up, said BlueSG, a unit of France's Bollore Group.

Two subscription plans are available - a premium yearly membership which costs S$15 per month with lower rental rates of S$0.33 per minute for a minimum booking of 15 minutes, and a weekly membership plan which does not require any recurring fee but charges S$0.50 per minute.

Taking a BlueSG trip from Toa Payoh to Mohammed Sultan, for instance, would cost premium members about S$5.61, while this translates to S$8.50 for weekly members for the same journey.

BlueSG hopes to roll out 110 electric cars and 42 stations with 165 charging points islandwide by the end of this year. And by 2020, the aim is to have 1,000 cars and 2,000 charging points.

“We are committed to make Singapore the second largest electric vehicle car-sharing service worldwide after Paris,” said Marie Bollore, managing director of Blue Solutions.

“We look forward to working in tandem with the Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to achieve urban mobility and a sustainable transport system in Singapore.”

LTA’s chief executive officer Ngien Hoon Ping added: “We also hope that the establishment of BlueSG’s charging network and the setting of Type-2 charging as a nationwide standard, will pave the way for greater adoption of electric vehicles in Singapore, as we move towards a greener and more sustainable urban transport system.”

The Bollore Group, which set up its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore in September, is also planning to launch a Global Innovation Center here to undertake R&D projects in the areas of mobility and energy management solutions.

It is also working with Nanyang Technological University to pilot an electric tram system around the campus in early 2018.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan lauded the BlueSG service as a green initiative that makes better use of resources.

"If Bluesg and similar ideas take off in Singapore, they will help realise our car-lite vision, enhancing our quality of life and making the city more liveable," he wrote.

He added that Singapore can expect to see more electric cars and charging stations and points in future.

Source: CNA/zl