Electric car-sharing firm BlueSG opens 100th charging station

Elizabeth Neo Channel NewsAsia 3 Oct 18;

SINGAPORE: Electric car-sharing firm BlueSG has opened its 100th charging station in Singapore, with the company saying there has been strong demand for its services - although it has yet to make a profit.

The new station, located at the Pinnacle@Duxton at 1 Cantonment Road, will help service the 230 BlueSG electric vehicles that ply Singapore’s roads. The company currently has 393 charging points.

In an update on Wednesday (Oct 3), BlueSG said it has more than 17,000 registered members and 70,000 rentals as at end-September.

The company said it has received more than 6,000 requests for new stations, and is working with the authorities and private landlords to expand its network.

“Shopping malls, universities and the airport - there is a very strong demand," BlueSG managing director Franck Vitte told Channel NewsAsia.

"So we are working with the different stakeholders, some of them are very enthusiastic, such as the shopping malls. And with some of them, it is taking more time depending on their willingness to have our service within their premises."

The company started with 80 cars and 32 charging stations, and aims to roll out 1,000 cars and 2,000 charging points by 2020.

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Close to 10 months after launching its electric car-sharing programme, Mr Vitte said the company has yet to turn a profit.

“But again, of course we never anticipated to make a profit right from the beginning because there's a lot of investments, but we hope to be able to break even much faster than we hope for in the coming years," he said.

Associate Professor Nitin Pangarkar from the National University of Singapore’s School of Business said this was not surprising for a new company.

"It's okay not to make profits in the start-up stage because there are a whole lot of costs and uncertainties that a start-up gets burdened with that get resolved over time," he said.

“To me, one of BlueSG's stumbling blocks is that they are creating their own infrastructure and they are paying for it. And that hurts, especially when you have a small base," he added.

"So when the petrol kiosks start offering charging stations, I think that is when BlueSG will have a real shot at taking off."

To further enhance user experience, the firm announced updates to its mobile application for a new function that allows users to register for the next available parking lot or car and to be informed when they are next in line. This will enable members to plan better, said BlueSG.

It has also entered into a partnership with Sembcorp Power, the electricity retail arm of Sembcorp Industries, for the supply of electricity to its charging stations.

Source: CNA/nc(ra)

Electric car-sharing scheme draws over 17,000 members, launches 100th charging station
KENNETH CHENG Today Online 3 Oct 18;

SINGAPORE — Less than a year after its launch, Singapore's first large-scale electric car-sharing scheme has more than 17,000 members on its books, operator BlueSG said on Wednesday (Oct 3).

This is about nine times the 2,000 or so members recorded at its launch last December.

Demand for its cars has been healthy, BlueSG said, adding that there were some 70,000 rentals as of the end of last month, with more than 10,000 in September alone.

Right now, the service has 230 electric cars and 100 charging stations comprising nearly 400 charging points. During its launch, there were 80 cars and about 30 charging stations.

By 2020, BlueSG aims to put 1,000 electric vehicles on Singapore roads and set up 2,000 charging points at 500 stations — with 80 per cent in residential areas. About one-fifth of the charging points will be available for the public to charge other private electric cars.

The operator on Wednesday announced its 100th charging station at public housing development Pinnacle@Duxton on Cantonment Road. Its charging stations are in various parts of the island, including Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Jurong East and Tampines.

The operator said it has received more than 6,000 requests for new stations, and is working with the authorities and private landlords to enlarge its network in residential and other areas.

Mr Franck Vitte, BlueSG's managing director, said that with 100 charging stations and a presence in nearly every town, it has become a "convenient and competitive commuting option" that complements the public transport network.

"More importantly, BlueSG is becoming a viable alternative to car ownership and some of our users have already started selling off their private vehicles," he added.

BlueSG is tying up with Sembcorp Power — the electricity retail arm of utilities, marine and urban development group Sembcorp Industries — to supply electricity to its charging stations.

The electric car-sharing operator's mobile application has also been refreshed with a new function that allows users to register for the next available car or parking spot, and find out if they are next in the queue.

This will enable its members to better plan their transport needs, the company said.

To mark the opening of its 100th charging station, BlueSG is offering free one-hour rental to all its "premium" members who clock more than 100 minutes of rental between Wednesday and next Friday.

Premium members subscribe to a yearly plan, at S$15 monthly, and pay 33 cents a minute to rent a car.

Weekly members pay a higher fee of 50 cents per minute. All users must rent the cars for at least 15 minutes.