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Singapore

2 electric motorcycle battery swap and charge stations launched in Singapore

Announcing the trial sandboxes at Land Transport Industry Day, Transport Minister S Iswaran also said that the renewed compact for the sector, which is being looked at as part of the Forward Singapore process, must be guided by key imperatives of choice, cost and climate.

02:10 Min
A national certification programme is being rolled out for technicians who work on electric vehicles (EVs). Skills training is being scaled up to support the EV industry in tandem with Singapore’s move to embrace cleaner vehicles. Neo Rong Wei with more.

SINGAPORE: Two battery "swap and charge" stations for electric motorcycles were launched on Friday (Sep 2) by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), in a bid to encourage greater adoption of cleaner-energy vehicle use in Singapore.

The two trial sandboxes are run by Taiwanese company Gogoro and Singapore-headquartered MO Batteries respectively, and will allow depleted electric motorcycle batteries to be swapped with fully charged ones within seconds. 

Both sandboxes will be primarily used for deliveries.

Gogoro will partner investment holding firm Jardine Cycle & Carriage to conduct trials using their electric motorcycles and battery swap stations for last mile deliveries.

MO Batteries will partner SingPost and security solutions provider Prosegur to conduct pilots using their electric motorcycles, as well as a combination of centralised charging and battery swap and storage, said LTA in a news release. 

The regulatory sandbox with Gogoro will involve 20 electric motorcycles and 100 swappable batteries at two Gogoro GoStations, while MO Batteries will have six electric motorcycles with 30 swappable batteries, 14 chargers and two battery store and swap stations, added an LTA spokesperson.

These trials will begin in the next few weeks and run for 12 months.

"The adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) is another key thrust for greening the land transport sector," said Transport Minister S Iswaran on Friday.

"We have set out our vision to achieve 100 per cent cleaner-energy vehicles by 2040. This is a tall order because it entails a major transition away from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles towards EVs and other cleaner-energy vehicles."

In a speech at the Land Transport Industry Day event, he added: "With the growing range of charging solutions, we hope to encourage the adoption of more electric motorcycle models in Singapore."

PREPARING WORKFORCE FOR EV TRANSITION 

In tandem with Singapore's push toward a greener future is the need to prepare the workforce's transition to EV use.

To that end, LTA has launched a National Electric Vehicle Specialist Safety certification in partnership with SkillsFuture Singapore.  

“This is the first step in equipping workshop technicians with the skills to work safely in an EV environment,” said Mr Iswaran. 

Technicians can sign up for subsidised courses and obtain the certification under the Workforce Skills Qualification framework developed by SkillsFuture Singapore.

Three of these courses - at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic and the Institute of Technical Education - are now open for enrolment. 

Certificate holders will be equipped with skills and knowledge to safely conduct electric vehicle and hybrid electric vehicle servicing in a high-voltage environment, added LTA. 

These industry-recognised certifications will “pave the way for automotive technicians to subsequently receive further specialised training in electric vehicles”. 

LTA is also partnering with Workforce Singapore (WSG) to offer salary support for workshop technicians who are training under the WSG Career Conversion Programme for Sustainability Professionals (EV Specialists). 

“This transition will bring opportunities and jobs for our workers, who will also need to be equipped with new skill sets. And while the journey will take many years, we need to start investing in skills upgrading now,” said Mr Iswaran. 

FORWARD SINGAPORE UPDATE

Mr Iswaran on Friday also gave a first update on an area under his purview in the Forward Singapore exercise, which was launched by the fourth-generation or 4G leadership team in June to review and refresh Singapore's social compact.

The year-long initiative will be organised across six pillars.

The Build pillar – which entails the home and living environment – is helmed by Mr Iswaran, Communications and Information Minister Josephine Teo, and Minister for National Development and Minister-in-charge of Social Services Integration Desmond Lee. 

“The future of our land transport system is an integral part of this exercise under the Build pillar of Forward Singapore. Our goal is to forge a renewed compact for land transport guided by the key imperatives of choice, cost and climate,” said Mr Iswaran on Friday. 

A public consultation exercise on the proposed legislation to regulate EV charging in Singapore was organised from Jun 15 to Jul 14 by the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and LTA.

Over 70 responses were received from a range of stakeholders, with the feedback generally supportive of the proposed legislative measures, said MOT and LTA in a joint news release on Friday. 

Responding to queries on what such engagements under Forward Singapore would entail, Mr Iswaran highlighted the need to revisit "existing assumptions" about "various demographics", to see whether they still hold or whether a "new formulation" needs to be considered.

"Of course, the fact is there are changing aspirations and needs in our society, not just because of demographic considerations, but also because of ... habits and culture changes," he told reporters.  

"For example, we've seen that with the pandemic, there has been a greater tendency to work from home, but also for people to take up more active mobility modalities. So these also have to be taken into account."

Said Mr Iswaran: "Is this changing things in a fundamental way for the long term? Or is it more a transient phenomenon? And if it is a fundamental shift, then how do we accommodate it within the context of our larger land transport blueprint?"

The idea for engagement sessions is really to adopt a "listening mode" in the first instance, he added.

"Because whilst we have longer-term plans and ideas, many of which people are already familiar with, we need to use this opportunity to hear directly from the different groups ... in our society, and understand this before we then respond with a formulation which will be an integral part of the larger social compact." 

Earlier, in his speech, Mr Iswaran also explained the guiding imperatives of choice, cost and climate.

He noted that the evolution of Singapore's land transport system has been marked by choices at every level.

To be “meaningful and sustainable”, these choices must be predicated on a "careful evaluation" of costs – not just financial or fiscal ones, but also opportunities that may be foregone as a result of those choices, Mr Iswaran said. 

“Today, this choice-cost matrix must be augmented by a third dimension, which is climate. With the existential climate change, we must address the environmental impact of the choices we face for our transport system”, the minister added. 

"To build a land transport system that meets the evolving needs of our society, we must decide on the choices we want to make, understand the costs and trade-offs they entail, agree on how these costs are to be borne, while stewarding and safeguarding our shared environmental and fiscal resources."

He said: “We need conversations about our respective roles and responsibilities in this endeavour – whether as a commuter or taxpayer, as a motorist or a cyclist, as an industry player or government regulator."

“In other words, we need to come together to forge a renewed social compact on urban mobility, to build a transport system that meets the needs and aspirations of Singaporeans today, as well as those of our future generations.”

Source: CNA/gy(jo)

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