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LTA to develop a road map for electric vehicles

SINGAPORE — Electric vehicles are set to be given a bigger push here, with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) seeking to develop a blueprint on how to bring about mass adoption of such vehicles in Singapore.

SINGAPORE — Electric vehicles are set to be given a bigger push here, with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) seeking to develop a blueprint on how to bring about mass adoption of such vehicles in Singapore.

Among the things the regulator wants consultants to study are the gaps in technology, implementation issues of installing charging infrastructure, as well as an assessment of the energy savings and carbon emissions levels with the adoption of these green vehicles, according to tender documents published last Thursday.

Since 2011, the authorities have been studying the feasibility of electric vehicles on Singapore roads, with the data from the first phase of a test-bed currently under review. This will determine the plans for further trials, which the LTA said could involve car-sharing and commercial fleets.

The LTA’s latest move to develop the road map was hailed by industry observers and researchers, with Mr Liu Xueliang, General Manager of electric-car manufacturer BYD Asia-Pacific, saying that Singapore has the “best potential” to implement electric vehicles islandwide because of its advanced power grid system.

Dr Emilio Frazzoli, Lead Investigator at the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology, expects the rate of adoption here for electric vehicles to keep rising and at a “very high” level within three to five years.

Noting that the automobile industry is releasing more models of electric vehicles — Ferrari’s latest supercar, LaFerrari, for instance, includes an electric motor — he added: “While most are city cars, there are some electric vehicles with performance and handling characteristics that are comparable and, in some cases, superior to those of luxury sport cars.”

In terms of charging infrastructure, however, the Republic is “still some time away”, said Dr Park Byung Joon, who heads the Urban Transport Management Programme at the Singapore Institute of Management.

Pointing out that cities such as Shenzhen in China have successfully adopted public electric buses and taxi services in 2010, Dr Park questioned if the Government or public transport operators will have to foot the bill when it comes to constructing the necessary infrastructure and pay ing for the electric buses.

Electric car-sharing company Smove has concerns about the high cost of electric cars being an impediment for the average consumer. It is the only such company here and has a customer base of 450 since it started its electric car-sharing trial 15 months ago.

Its founder Tom Lokenvitz reiterated a call for the authorities to review the taxes imposed on such cars so they will not be “disadvantaged for a long time”.

Those in the industry had suggested that electric vehicle batteries — which are costly — be excluded in tax computation.

Responding to queries, the LTA told TODAY there are no pre-defined targets as to when electric vehicles will be adopted here. However, the tender documents stipulate that the consultant will have to provide data up to 2050, with “midpoints to include at least 2030”.

The spokesperson added: “Ultimately, whether a new technology succeeds or not will depend on the market. We will continue to monitor global trends and see how the market evolves.”

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