SINGAPORE: A total of 300 electric vehicles operated by Strides Taxi - formerly SMRT Taxi - will serve passengers by the end of the year, with the first batch of 15 taxis launched on Monday (Aug 30).
The MG5 vehicles are new to the Singapore market, said Strides Mobility in a joint media release with its subsidiary Strides Taxi.
"When all 300 MG5s are on the road, Strides Taxi will become the taxi operator with the largest fleet of EVs in Singapore," the companies added.
The MG5 can travel for up to 300km on a full charge, the media release stated, adding that drivers currently have access to about 140 EV charging points at 80 locations across Singapore.
It takes 40 minutes to charge a vehicle to 80 per cent capacity.
"Compared to a hybrid car, the cost of charging for Strides Taxi partners is more economical. In one month, a partner driving the MG5 could save around S$300 on energy costs," said the companies.
Strides Mobility is a subsidiary of transport operator SMRT, which pledged in April to change its entire taxi fleet to electric vehicles within five years.
This would reduce the total carbon footprint by an estimated 20,000 tonnes per year, the companies noted.
To encourage drivers to be "early adopters" of its electric taxis, Strides Taxi is offering free rental on the MG5 vehicle and unlimited charging for the first 30 days.
It has also worked with SP Group and Shell "to provide convenience and discounts for (drivers') charging needs", Strides Taxi said.
“We are excited that our electric taxis will hit the roads from today," said Strides Mobility president Tan Kian Heong.
"The vibrant green of Strides Taxi vehicles is a striking reminder to us that it is important to work sustainability principles into Strides’ businesses, which we seek to develop and grow in alignment with the Singapore Green Plan.”
According to Ms Yeo Wan Ling, advisor to the National Taxi Association, there was "some anxiety" among drivers about issues such as charging points, the waiting time and costs of charging.
"As we push for the adoption of green vehicles, we should work together to ensure a win-win for all concerned," she said.
It was announced earlier this year that the Government will set aside S$30 million over the next five years for initiatives related to electric vehicles, which includes improving Singapore's charging infrastructure.
The country aims to have 60,000 charging points at public car parks and private premises by 2030, more than double its initial target of 28,000.
Changes to registration fees and road tax will also be introduced to narrow the cost differential between electric cars and internal combustion engine cars.