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Energy provider SP Group has rolled out its first batch of electric vehicle charging points in Singapore

By Wong Chung Wee - on 11 Jan 2019, 11:36am

Energy provider SP Group has rolled out its first batch of electric vehicle charging points in Singapore

(Image source: The Straits Times)

This article is contributed by Christopher Tan and a version of it first appeared in The Straits Times, an SPH publication, on January 10, 2019.

Energy provider SP Group has rolled out its first batch of electric vehicle charging points, in time for ride-hailing firm Grab to plug into a fleet of electric cars. The 38 points - nineteen 43 kilowatt (kw) alternate current (AC) chargers and nineteen 50kw direct current (DC) chargers - are able to power up a mid-sized electric car within an hour, compared with six to eight hours via household chargers.

SP said yesterday the points are at eight locations across the island, with all sited near food centres to allow drivers to take a break while their cars are being juiced up. They are the first of 1,000 charging points SP aims to launch by 2020. About one-quarter of the total will be DC chargers. Users can locate and access available charging points via the SP app, which can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store and Google Play.The app alerts users when charging is completed, and facilitates payment via DBS and POSB cards. Other cards will be included soon, SP said.

The AC system will charge a mid-sized car in 45 to 60 minutes, while the DC charger will do so within half an hour or so. SP said it plans to introduce 350kw chargers, which can provide a full charge in about 15 minutes, "over the next few years". Currently, rates are 41.4 and 47.3 cents per kilowatt hour for its AC and DC chargers, respectively. At these rates, SP said drivers will see at least 50 per cent cost savings compared with those who drive comparable petrol-powered models. But The Straits Times understands Grab will have discounted rates for drivers of its electric fleet. The company is expected to take delivery of 20 Hyundai Kona Electric crossovers this month. These cars - with a range in excess of 400km on a full charge - are part of 200 units Grab has ordered. The ride-hailing firm announced last August that it would introduce the cars as part of a partnership with SP Group.

When contacted, Hyundai agent Komoco would only say it had sold some Kona Electric cars to Grab and ComfortDelGro. It will unveil the car at the Singapore Motorshow today. With seven new battery-powered models due to be launched here this year, the percentage of electric cars is set to rise from its currently negligible share of less than 0.1 per cent.

But industry watchers said consumers - the vast majority of whom live in high-rises - will consider switching only when a sizeable public charging network is in place. SP Group chief executive Wong Kim Yin said SP's charging network will "encourage a wider adoption of green mobility in Singapore, and enable drivers to save".