(EnergyAsia, June 27 2011, Monday) — Singapore has launched its much-anticipated national system to test and gauge different electric vehicle (EV) prototypes and charging technologies in the city-state’s highly urbanised environment and road conditions before deciding whether to roll it out for mass adoption.

Officially launched on June 25, the S$20 million, three-year trial project makes Singapore among the first cities in the world to test-bed an ecologically sustainable and integrated transport solution at the system level. (US$1=S$1.25).

The test-bed system is the work of the inter-agency Electric Vehicle (EV) Taskforce, led by the Energy Market Authority (EMA) and the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

The EV test-bed comprises three outdoor and two indoor charging stations, five units of the Mitsubishi i-MiEVs, four smart electric drive Daimler vehicles, and participants comprising LTA, Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Mitsubishi Corporation and local power company Senoko Energy.

The test-bed will focus on gathering data and insights to guide the planning for future deployment of EVs, including the optimal ratio of charging stations to vehicles.

For the convenience of the test-bed participants, charging stations have been designed to automatically collect data on the EV users’ charging patterns. To provide an adequate period for data collection, the test-bed will be extended by one year until end of 2013.

The first batch of normal-charging stations has been deployed at accessible locations for the pioneer batch of EV users while the first quick-charging station will be deployed in the third quarter of 2011. Normal charging stations need about seven to eight hours to fully charge up a vehicle while quick chargers take about 45 minutes.

Daimler South East Asia (SEA) Pte Ltd, a unit of the German auto giant, said it will make available a total 20 smart electric drive vehicles for lease under the test-bed scheme from next month. Daimler said it is participating in the project as part of its global programme to test driver behaviour and customer acceptance of EVs in real-world conditions in major cities around the world.

Mitsubishi said it will bring in another 10 i-MiEV units from Japan by end-2011, adding to the five already in Singapore.

The test-bed will be scaled up over time, with the charging infrastructure growing in tandem with the take-up rate of EVs in the test-bed.

Robert Bosch (South East Asia) Pte Ltd has been appointed as the first charging service provider (CSP) to design, develop, deploy, operate and maintain the charging infrastructure of the EV test-bed programme.

Bosch, which is testing its eMobility station outside its Germany home-base for the first time, will work closely with future test-bed participants to install dedicated charging stations to meet their charging needs. Other players are welcome to set up EV charging stations on a commercial basis.

Martin Hayes, president and managing director of Robert Bosch (South East Asia) Pte Ltd, said:

“Our eMobility solution is a comprehensive and state-of-the-art system for the EV test-bed. User-friendly, robust, scalable, cost effective, highly secure and easily adaptable for future concepts, it will support the development of a vibrant electric vehicle city transportation ecosystem for Singapore. This aligns with the Singapore government’s vision for an environmental-friendly and self-sustainable transportation infrastructure. We are privileged to contribute to this important milestone.”

Greenlots, a Singapore-based EV charging systems company, is supplying Bosch with the locally-produced all-weather tamper-proof chargers.

According to founder and managing director Olivier Risse, the smart chargers will measure and control power supply to prevent brown-outs in the building where the chargers are installed.

The EMA and LTA are inviting interested companies and organisations to participate in the project through the Enhanced Technology Innovation and Development Scheme (TIDES-PLUS) which is jointly administered by EDB and LTA to waive off all vehicle taxes and duty for an initial period of six years. Details are available on the EMA website, www.ema.gov.sg.

EMA’s chief executive, Chee Hong Tat, said:

“The purpose of the EV test-bed is to gain a better understanding of EV technologies, business models and user preferences which will give us more information to determine the feasibility of using EVs in Singapore.”

Chew Hock Yong, LTA’s chief executive, said:

“The launch of the electric vehicle test-bed marks a significant milestone for land transport in Singapore. We are encouraged by the support of the business community for this test-bed. We all have the same objective, which is to push towards a cleaner, greener and more sustainable transport system, and a better living environment in Singapore.”

Tan Choon Shian, deputy managing director of the Singapore Economic Development Board, said:

“The EV test-bed is an excellent example of how Singapore presents itself as a ‘living laboratory’, in this case for EV manufacturers, charging solution providers and automotive component players, working closely with various stakeholders in both government and utilities sector. In meeting Singapore’s need for sustainable mobility solutions, we invite private sector players to partner us in the development and testing of innovative solutions.”