Singapore to install 2,000 charging points islandwide for electric cars

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said in Parliament that the proposal for the electric car-sharing programme is in the final stages of evaluation but did not give any indication of when it would be launched.

electric vehicle charging station
Singapore’s Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan announces plan to install 2,000 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations island-wide. Image: Shutterstock

Singapore will install 2,000 charging points across the island to boost its electric car-sharing programme, the country’s Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan announced in Parliament on Monday.

Details of the locations of the charging points, and when these will be launched, have not been revealed. However, the minister said the scheme is now in the “final stages of evaluation”.

The electric car-sharing programme aims to introduce 1,000 EVs and the charging infrastructure necessary to support their use.

“We encourage the use of vehicles that are more environmentally-friendly, including electric cars. We incentivise low carbon emissions cars through the Carbon Emissions-based Vehicle Scheme (CEVS), which is outcome-based and neutral with respect to the type of technology,” Khaw said in reply to Member of Parliament Er Dr Eee Bee Wah’s question on the ministry’s position on the use of electric cars.

Khaw said the final proposal currently being evaluated resulted from a Request for Information (RFI) issued by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and Economic Development Board (EDB) inviting proposals for such a programme.

According to the RFI, up to 20 per cent of the proposed 2,000 points may be accessible to non-participants of the car-sharing scheme. This means that private owners of EVs can also use some of the charging stations to juice their ride.

We encourage the use of vehicles that are more environmentally-friendly, including electric cars.

Khaw Boon Wan, Transport Minister, Singapore

Maximum rebates for EV owners

The ministry reiterated its promise of rewarding EV owners in terms of carbon rebates. 

For instance, the LTA gave a carbon rebate of $20,000 to an electric Peugeot Ion (a subcompact hatchback) and $30,000 each to a BMW i3 hatchback and i8 plug-in hybrid after these cars passed the tests on CO2 emissions for the electricity generated to charge these cars.

Er Dr Lee asked in particular about whether Tesla’s new Model 3 would qualify for tax incentives, after a Singaporean Internet search firm executive who purchased a used Tesla Model S in March, was given a $15,000 surcharge instead of getting a rebate.

Khaw clarified that the Model 3 was launched in the United States on March 31, but “only a prototype was displayed”. “When it is ready to be sold in Singapore, importers will submit its electrical energy consumption information for LTA to assess if it will attract a rebate or a surcharge,” he said.

“If it is as energy-efficient as a new Tesla S, a new Tesla 3 car would be entitled to the maximum rebate under our current CEVS.”

EV on fast lane

The number of charging points the ministry plans to set up presents a dramatic 20-fold increase from what is currently available.

According to LTA data, there are only about 100 charging points in commercial and residential buildings as well as public places all over Singapore today servicing some 120 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Terence Siew, product manager at Greenlots, a home-grown charging solutions firm, said 2,000 charging points for an initial fleet of 1,000 EVs is a “good ratio to start with”.

Such numbers suggest the little red dot is solidly paving the way for more green cars. But that’s not all: commuters may also be riding EV buses in the near future.

When asked by another MP, Sun Xueling, on whether or not the Government would consider using electric vehicles for public transport, citing London’s launch of a fleet of battery-powered double-decker buses in March, Khaw said: “Yes. We will try to make use of all this new technology.”

Earlier this year, London rolled out a fleet of five double-decker EV buses that transported people to touristy areas.

“All that said, the greenest form of transport is public transport,” said Khaw. “Even though electric cars produce no tailpipe emissions, the process of generating the electricity they consume emits carbon. We must move towards a car-lite society.”

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