Expanding Singapore's electric vehicle charging network will give drivers 'peace of mind', says local firm

Expanding Singapore's electric vehicle charging network will give drivers 'peace of mind', says local firm

Electric car charges on a street in London
FILE PHOTO - Electric car charges on a street in London, Britain, February 4, 2020. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic

SINGAPORE: Electric vehicles (EVs) currently make up a small percentage of the cars on Singapore's roads, but more motorists could be encouraged to make the switch to EVs if there are more charging points, said the CEO of EV charging firm Charge+. 

The company announced on Tuesday (Sep 29) that it aims to install 10,000 EV charging points across Singapore by 2030, a move which would make it the country’s single largest charging provider. 

There are several considerations for potential electric vehicle buyers, including whether the right vehicle model is available as an EV, Charge+ CEO Goh Chee Kiong told CNA. 

“The key point that really dictates whether Singaporeans will buy EVs or not, is whether the EV chargers are available at their doorstep, said Mr Goh. 

“The peace of mind that there's overnight charging for the average driver in Singapore is very important.” 

There has been a push in recent years to expand the electric vehicle charging network, as part of Singapore's long-term goal to make the land transport sector more environmentally sustainable.

In February, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced in his Budget speech an ambitious plan to phase out internal combustion engine vehicles by 2040.

In line with this, he said that the Government aims to have 28,000 public EV charging points available by 2030 with help of the private sector, up from about 1,600 currently.

READ: Singapore firm aims to have 10,000 electric vehicle charging points islandwide by 2030

According to Charge+, its alternating current (AC) chargers will be the slimmest such devices commercially once they are available.

“We are aiming for the final design to be less than 15cm,” said Mr Goh, who was previously with utilities provider SP Group as its energies CEO. 

This “ultra slim” design will allow its chargers to meet the physical constraints posed by many existing car parks here, said Charge+ chairman Ong Tze Boon.

Keeping its chargers compact will also allow for them to be introduced in other similarly dense cities across Asia where parking is tight, said Mr Goh. 

Charge+ team
(From left to right) Charge+ finance director Mr Lawrence Wu, chairman Mr Ong Tze Boon, Charge+ director and Sunseap chief executive officer (CEO) Mr Frank Phuan, and Charge+ CEO Mr Goh Chee Kiong. (Photo: Charge+)

READ: What is keeping electric cars from gaining greater acceptance in Singapore?

With a limited number of electric car models available on the market and EVs typically costing about 30 per cent more than their petrol equivalents, electric cars currently make up only about 0.2 per cent of Singapore’s total car population. 

Still, the company's aim of providing 10,000 charging points across Singapore within the next decade proves that Charge+ is bullish about the prospects for EVs here, said Mr Goh. 

“Charge+ can’t do anything about the cost of EVs … we can’t do anything about the number of models available in Singapore. But Charge+ can do much more in terms of building a lot of infrastructure ahead of time, so that we give (prospective) EV drivers the peace of mind to choose EVs,” he said. 

There will be “explosive growth” in the number of EV models available in the coming years, he said, adding that EV prices will drop as battery prices continue to decrease.

Mr Goh added that the company expects to begin rolling out its chargers in the first quarter of next year. 

Charging rates have not yet been finalised, he added, although he noted that the cost of charging an EV is about one-third that of refuelling a petrol vehicle. 

READ: 28,000 charging stations for electric cars is possible - but where? Industry players weigh in

Addressing concerns that a switch to EVs would merely transfer the source of pollution from vehicle tailpipes to power plants, Mr Goh said converting fossil fuels to electricity for vehicles would still result in a “hefty 50 per cent carbon emissions reduction”.

Sunseap’s background in solar energy also points to the possibility of transportation becoming even cleaner, said Mr Ong. 

“Our mobility proposal is that the car is green, but the power supply is also going to be green. Maybe not overnight, a hundred per cent (of the power coming from solar), but we are making an effort to contribute to a green mobility solution,” he added. 

Last month the Straits Times reported that South Korean automaker Hyundai would manufacture EVs at a facility in Singapore beginning in 2022. 

“Potentially there can be synergies between car sellers, car dealers and Charge+,” said Mr Goh. 

“That’s something that, broadly speaking, we are interested to pursue, to have partnerships with car dealers, car OEMs (original equipment manufacturers).”

Source: CNA/az(gs)

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