For a long time, Singapore has heard of the eMobility revolution but has never felt it. This is about to change – and change fast!
Before someone says, “we have heard this before,” let me tell you why this time it’s different. A big part of disruption lies in the ecosystem. Technologies often seem disruptive but are not able to create an impact because the ecosystem did not evolve at the same rate. This was true for eMobility from 2012-2016. Tesla realized this early and started building the ecosystem themselves. They were eager and too passionate to wait for the ecosystem to evolve.
But in the last two years things have changed. The ecosystem has started to evolve to make eMobility a reality, and Singapore has made huge strides to lead this transition in Asia.
Before getting into the ecosystem, let’s look at the technology innovation. Battery prices have reduced significantly and are expected to drop further to levels where Electric Vehicles (EVs) can be on par to diesel/petrol vehicle costs by 2022. For electric buses, while the upfront costs are higher than diesel buses, annual savings on fuel and maintenance leads to a payback period of five years. Charging technologies from AC wall boxes and fast-charging DC have evolved to provide a multitude of options for consumers, whatever their needs are.
Now let’s talk about the ecosystem, and how Singapore is leading the way:
Governments and authorities accepting and supporting the disruption
Starting in 2021, the government will be rolling out incentives on private and commercial EVs, with benefits of up to 20,000 SGD to support in bridging the gap in upfront costs. More importantly, by declaring an ambitious plan of 28,000 charge points by 2030, up from 1600 today, the government recognizes the importance of charging infrastructure to provide confidence to consumers to make this transition.
Utilities and authorities’ aligned with government ambition
Even before the government had declared incentives and its charging infrastructure target, the electricity and gas distribution company, SP Group, had declared to add 1000 charging points by 2020, and are planning for many more units within the next two years. The Housing and Development Board and Urban Redevelopment Authority too are expected to follow the trend soon with plans to electrify public car parks.
Two other trends supporting eMobility are shared mobility and autonomous mobility. Electric car-sharing service, BlueSG, led the shared mobility innovation with more than 400 electric cars and 700 charge points. They even opened part of their charging infrastructure for private EV owners. Hyundai motors will be opening their innovation center in Singapore to work on EVs and future technology.
Adoption of EVs by taxi and ride-hailing platforms
Ride-hailing firm Grab launched 200 electric cars in Singapore at the start of this year as part of a partnership with SP Group. Under this partnership, Grab’s private-hire drivers will enjoy preferential rates at SP Group’s EV charging stations and discounted parking for drivers using the charging stations.
and more options!
There was a time when one only imagined a Tesla, or maybe a Nissan Leaf, at the mention of electric cars, but this is not the case anymore. During the Singapore Motor Show 2020, more than 10 major brands showcased their EVs, with many more expected to launch next year.
Let’s start calling them Charge-hubs. Shell has already installed 50kW DC chargers at 10 of their stations and are planning more. We would even see smart and fast charging hubs (>150kW DC) soon across Singapore, with the possibility to charge multiple cars simultaneously with every charger.
For Singapore, the transition does not stop at electric cars. The Land Transport Authority has announced moving the entire bus fleet to clean energy by 2040 and has already piloted 60 electric buses across the island. It has been declared that not a single diesel bus will be procured in the future. This transition for around 5,400 buses would be huge and positions the island as a leader in electrifying public transport.
There is much more happening in this space, with numerous charge point operators (CPOs) and mobility service providers (MSPs) bringing innovative solutions, micro-eMobility transitions after the Personal Mobility Device (PMD) bans from footpaths, electric garbage trucks, and last mile fleet electrification for logistic companies.
Clearly the ecosystem has evolved and is now ready for this move to eMobility, and we will see impact around us very soon. And most importantly, as with many other technology disruptions, success in Singapore would pave the way for the transition across ASEAN.
I am ready for this move! Are you? Share what your city is doing on e-mobility.
Get in touch and let’s discuss how we can make real what matters: https://www.linkedin.com/in/siddhantgupta/