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Singapore: Electric vehicle tests to start in mid-2011

The first batch of 10 Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric cars is likely to be launched in May for the start of a three-year test-bedding project here.

The i-MiEV is a pure electric vehicle (EV) that is part of a $20 million programme to test-bed EVs in Singapore.

‘The test-bed will run for a period of three years, commencing from the middle of this year,’ said Lew Yii Der, the Land Transport Authority’s group director for corporate planning and research.

The LTA is one of the co-leaders of Singapore’s multi-agency EV Taskforce, along with the Energy Market Authority (EMA).

Mr Lew was speaking yesterday at the UK-Singapore Partners in Science Electric Vehicles Symposium 2011. The event, hosted by the British High Commission and the National University of Singapore, brought together specialists from Singapore, the UK and China to discuss the latest EV research and related work in power systems, materials and infrastructure.

The symposium aims to offer a starting point for collaboration between UK and Singaporean specialists to further develop this area of research by sharing their expertise, views and experience.

Mr Lew said that the Republic is considered an ideal location for electric transport test-bedding because of its small size, compact urban environment, robust power grid, infocomm infrastructure, and research and development capabilities.

‘We are positioning Singapore as a ‘living laboratory’ for companies to research, develop and test innovative solutions for EVs,’ he said.

As for the upcoming test-bed project involving the first batch of Mitsubishi i-MiEV models, he said that some companies have indicated interest in buying the cars but so far, there has not been any firm commitment.

Only companies and organisations will be allowed to buy the cars, which will be exempt for the usual vehicular taxes under a special Transport Technology Innovation and Development Scheme or Tides+ scheme.

According to Mr Lew, the companies which have expressed interest are a mix of big and small, with some MNCs as well as local firms, and they want to find out more details about the car’s cost and Tides+.

Another speaker at the symposium was Andrew Tay, the principal investigator of a project to develop an intelligent, high-performance battery system for EVs.

Prof Tay and his team are working on a super battery with a charging rate that is 10 times better than current batteries.

By September 2013, he expects to have a battery pack ready for installation in an electric passenger car currently being prepared by ST Kinetics, the team’s industrial collaborator.

The day-long symposium also featured 10 other speakers who discussed subjects ranging from the electrical challenges for future transport, to electromobility in megacities.

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