SINGAPORE – Engineering students at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have built the country’s first electric race car, which can go from 0kmh to 100kmh in 3.9 seconds.
That is the acceleration recorded by some electric vehicles (EVs), including Tesla and Audi models.
The R22e, which was officially unveiled by Senior Minister of State for Transport Chee Hong Tat at the NUS Kent Ridge campus on Tuesday (June 28), can hit a maximum speed of 125.4kmh.
Fourth-year mechanical engineering student Muhammad Nazirul Syahmi, who was part of the team from the College of Design and Engineering, said they had little reference resources to lean on at the start.
“Many of our simulations and tests had to be created from scratch,” said the 24-year-old.
“As we did not have experience with high-voltage systems and EV technologies, we approached companies in the local industry to conduct workshops for us and self-studied under the guidance of NUS teaching staff, to learn how to handle electrical systems.”
Students of the college have built a total of 19 internal combustion engine race cars over the past 21 years.
But the R22e, which the students spent 18 months working on, is their first EV race car.
Since the inauguration of the NUS Formula Society of Automotive Engineering (FSAE) Race Car Project in 2001, students from the college have been constructing formula-style race cars for the FSAE Michigan competition.
The inter-varsity event is held annually in the United States.
Formula-style cars have a single-seat with an open cockpit and open wheels.
Earlier this month, the team of 26 students entered the electric FSAE race car for static events at the competition.
According to the vehicle specifications provided by the team, the car can produce 80 kilowatts of power, and with its acceleration and top speed, can surpass its internal combustion engine predecessors’ performance.
NUS FSAE project adviser, Professor Seah Kar Heng, said the rapidly growing global electric car market made it crucial for students to be equipped with knowledge about electric car technologies.
“As a school, we have to be in sync with the direction that the world is heading in, to move towards clean and green energy,” said Prof Seah, who has been guiding engineering students in the project since 2001.
“I wanted the students to be aware of that, and working on this electric race car is a very good start for them.”
In a speech at Tuesday’s event, Mr Chee congratulated the team and said the launch was timely and mirrors Singapore’s own effort to electrify its vehicle population.
“Our transition to EVs will bring new and exciting opportunities in the new green economy,” he said.
“Engineering students can look forward to jobs and training in new areas, such as EV software diagnostics, battery and charging infrastructure.”
California-based Enovix said that it has demonstrated the ability of electric vehicle battery cells to charge from 0% to 80% capacity in as little as 5.2 minutes, and above 98% charge capacity in less than 10 minutes.
The cells also surpass 1,000 cycles, while retaining 93% of their capacity. These achievements have shattered the US Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) goal of achieving 80% charge in 15 minutes.
Other goals for USABC at the cell level include a usable energy density of 550 Wh/L, a survival temperature range of -40 C to 66 C, and a cost of $75/kWh at an annual output volume of 250,000 units. A full set of USABC targets can be found here.
The company demonstrated the fast-charge ability in its 0.27 Ah EV cells in its silicon lithium-ion batteries, which it said contain a novel 3D architecture and constraint system. The cells contain a 100% active silicon anode. Enovix said the material has long been heralded as an important technology in the next generation of battery anodes.
Silicon anodes can theoretically store more than twice as much lithium than the graphite anode that is used in nearly all Li-ion batteries today (1,800 mAh/cubic centimeter vs. 800 mAh/cubic centimeter).
“Fast charge capability can accelerate mass adoption of EVs and we’ve been able to demonstrate a level of performance that meets and exceeds many OEM roadmaps,” said Harrold Rust, co-founder, CEO and president of Enovix. “EV manufacturers are in pursuit of batteries that support longer range, while the public and private sectors work to increase EV driver access to fast chargers. We’re proud to support these goals to help electrify the automotive industry and demonstrate our batteries are an exciting option to power long-range, fast-charging EVs.”
“Our unique architecture enables a battery that not only charges in less than 10 minutes, but also maintains high cycle life,” said Ashok Lahiri, the CTO of Enovix. “We can improve battery performance today using the same chemistries, but more importantly, we can accelerate the industry’s roadmap.”
Lahiri spoke this week at the 12th International Advanced Automotive Battery Conference (AABC) Europe in Mainz, Germany. His presentation on silicon-anode lithium-ion batteries for EV applications will provide an update on the company’s EV program. The slide deck can be found here.
SINGAPORE: The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will be working with organisations to train and certify automotive technicians in the safety-related areas of electric vehicle (EV) maintenance and servicing.
LTA said on Monday (May 30) that the move is part of its efforts to upskill Singapore’s existing workforce in support of the adoption of electric vehicles and realisation of the Singapore Green Plan.
It signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Monday with 21 organisations – comprising automotive industry partners, vehicle fleet owners, training providers and other government agencies – to develop training opportunities for new and existing automotive technicians.
“Under the MOU, the parties will identify a set of baseline competencies on safe handling of high voltage systems, as well as electrical troubleshooting and diagnostics,” said LTA.
“These competencies form the fundamental knowledge and skills in EV maintenance and repair, which technicians need to acquire before handling such vehicles.”
The transport authority will work with SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and training providers, such as the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College West, Singapore Polytechnic and Ngee Ann Polytechnic, to develop and implement foundational training courses based on the list of identified competencies.
These training courses are expected to be available in the second half of this year. LTA will also work with SSG to provide baseline course fee subsidies of up to 70 per cent.
“As Singapore progresses towards 100 per cent cleaner-energy bus fleet by 2040, ensuring a steady pipeline of qualified professionals to support the public bus industry will help accelerate the transition towards more sustainable public transport modes,” said LTA.
NEW CERTIFICATION PROGRAMME
A new national-level certification programme will be established to recognise automotive technicians who have completed these courses and successfully attain the required competencies, said LTA.
The certification, recognised by all the parties in the MOU, will allow technicians to subsequently take further specialised training in EV maintenance.
LTA said it would also work with SSG and Workforce Singapore (WSG) to reskill new and existing automotive technicians to taken on roles in this field.
This will be done through programmes such as SSG’s SkillsFuture Career Transition Programme and WSG’s Career Conversion Programme (CCP) scheme. Under the CCP, eligible companies or participants may receive salary support for the training duration.
The transport authority said it is also taking steps to train and certify technicians in the maintenance of cleaner-energy buses within the public transport sector.
“To prepare our workforce for the transition, LTA signed an MOU (on Monday) with ITE to designate ITE College West as Singapore Bus Academy’s second satellite assessment centre. Republic Polytechnic was appointed as the first satellite centre in January this year.”
Bus technicians from the four public bus operators can tap on the two satellite assessment centres for training and assessment of technicians in the maintenance and servicing of electric and hybrid buses.
A joint certificate issued by LTA and the Institution of Engineers, Singapore (IES) will be awarded to those who have passed the technical competency assessment under IES’ national chartership scheme for technicians.
Schematic diagram of hybrid lithium ion battery and photos of the device. Image: KAIST
In other news, Volvo has invested in fast-charging battery tech firm StoreDot, Tesla has reported record profits in Q1, and Dutch start-up behind the world’s first commercial grid-independent solar car Lightyear has entered a carsharing partnership.
A research team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has developed a high-energy density, ultrafast rechargeable hybrid lithium-ion battery that can be used in smart electronic devices and EVs. “The hybrid lithium-ion battery, which has a high energy density (285 Wh/kg) and can be rapidly charged with a high-power density (22,600 W/kg), is overcoming the limitations of the current energy storage system,” Professor Jung-Goo Kang of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering said. “It will be a breakthrough.” The research team synthesized a porous carbon hollow structure with a large surface area by changing the orientation of the polymer resin from linear to twisted. When the twisted resin was carbonized, more micropores were formed, and a carbon structure with a surface area 12 times larger than that of the conventional linear resin was created. The carbon structure created through this process was used as a capacitor-type cathode material. In addition, the anode was made using a germanium-embedded hollow carbon nanosphere material to reduce degradation and maximize the dispersion of lithium ions. The researchers found that the hybrid lithium-ion battery using those special electrodes had an energy density comparable to that of conventional lithium-ion batteries and the power density characteristics of a capacitor, affording recharge within a minute.
In the meantime, an extreme fast charging battery tech developed by Israeli start-up StoreDot got one step closer to commercial viability with an investment from Volvo Cars Tech Fund, the Swedish carmaker’s venture capital arm. With the amount of the strategic investment undisclosed, Volvo Cars has become the latest major automotive manufacturer and a vote of confidence in StoreDot’s advanced technologies, following the likes of Daimler, BP Ventures, Ola Electric, Samsung, TDK, EVE and VinFast. According to the Geely-owned Swedish company, the investment gives it “the opportunity to collaborate closely with StoreDot on exciting new battery technology, as it aims to become a pure electric car company by 2030”. The first established car maker to commit to all-out electrification, the company is aiming for half of its global volume to consist of pure electric cars, Volvo is aiming for half of its global volume to consist of pure electric cars by 2025. As previously announced, the Israeli start-up is on track to begin mass producing its ‘100in5′ silicon-dominant anode extreme fast charging (XFC) lithium-ion cells as early as 2024, achieving 100 miles of charge in just five minutes. For StoreDot, the financial shot into the arm as part of StoreDot’s Series D investment round means that it will be able to bring its batteries to the market quicker and boost ongoing R&D into solid-state technologies. According to its strategic technology roadmap unveiled last month, StoreDot gears to deliver three generations of its battery technology – described as 100in5, 100in3, and 100in2 of miles per minute of charging – by 2024, 2028 and 2030. StoreDot claims that it is already at the “advanced stages of developing ground-breaking semi-solid-state technologies” which it believes will further improve its batteries by 40% over the next four years. Its third-generation achievement is expected to come on the back of a post-lithium technology that is to offer an energy density of more than 550 Wh/kg.
With slow charging times one of the major deterrents to EV adoption, Korea-basedHyundai is partnering with retail giant Lotte Group and KB Asset Management to accelerate the establishment of a super-fast charging infrastructure in Korea. Their plan is to set up a special purpose company through which they will lease EV superfast chargers of up to 200 kW to local charging companies. Their goal is to enable 5,000 units in major cities across the country by 2025. With its E-pit, a high-speed EV charging brand, Hyundai is leading the development of the domestic EV charging infrastructure ecosystem. In this week’s statement, the Korean carmaker reported it is now operating E-pit charging stations at twelve highway locations and six urban hubs. Through the new partnership, the company wants to add “major downtown business sites,” such as their national sales and service centers and offices, to its high-speed EV charging network. Lotte Group will also provide its retail facilities such as department stores and shopping malls in major cities as locations to install the new EV chargers.
According to the report Powering Small-Format Electric Vehicles with Minigrids, scaling electric mobility to a growing solar minigrid industry in Nigeria may be transformative for people living without access to transportation, and profitable for both minigrid and EV operators. The report by RMI, Factor[e] Ventures and the UK-charity Shell Foundation finds that in rural communities where solar minigrids are a better option than extending the grid, integrating EVs may stack the benefits of clean, affordable transport on top of those from reliable electricity access. The study also shows that renewable energy minigrids in rural Nigeria can power two- and three-wheeled EVs for the same cost as fossil-fueled alternatives. Finally, the study showed that at the costs, rental revenues and vehicle utilization observed in the Nigeria pilot, investments in leased electric two-wheelers are expected to pay back within a 10-year vehicle life.
For the world’s leading EV manufacturer, Tesla, the first quarter of the year was yet another opportunity to post record profits despite supply chain issues exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the production stop at its Shanghai Gigafactory. It generated a total of $18.76 billion in sales, of which $16.86 billion came from the automotive division. By comparison, in Q1 2021 revenue stood at $10.39 billion, and in the final quarter of 2021, it grew to $17.72 billion. From January to March, Tesla delivered record-breaking 310,048 electric cars worldwide. Due to the production halt of six days in Shanghai, corresponding to some 12,000 cars that could have been built during that time, production in Q1 fell to 305,407 vehicles. While it is looking to ramp up production in all gigafactories, Tesla says it is making “significant efforts” to advance its own cell manufacturing, raw material sourcing and supplier diversification.
Other industry players have felt the pinch to a greater degree. French carmaker Renault reported lower first-quarter revenues due to the war in Ukraine and a semiconductor shortage, which was partially offset by higher prices and rising EV sales. Renault’s revenue fell by 2.7% from a year earlier to 9.748 billion euros ($10.6 billion), and sales were down by more than 17% versus the first quarter of 2021 to 552,000 vehicles, the lowest quarterly sales since the global financial crisis in 2009. The bright spot in its Q1 report are sales of fully electric and hybrid vehicles that were up 13% and accounted for 36% of total sales.
In the Netherlands, solar car start-up Lightyear is partnering with The Sharing Group to integrate its vehicles into their car-sharing platform MyWheels. Under the deal, the solar car maker will supply 5,000 Lightyear Two vehicles to the platform by 2025. In addition, Lightyear One will also be offered via MyWheels as early as 2023, but it has not been specified how many of these vehicles will be available on the platform. Lightyear One is the company’s first model that will only be produced in a limited quantity. It will go into production next summer, and first customer deliveries will begin by the end of the year. Lightyear Two will be the mass-market model of the technology manufacturer and will go to market in 2024/2025 with a starting price of €30,000. According to Lightyear CEO Lex Hoefsloot, the future of mobility is not only about the vehicle itself, but also about how we use it. “Car sharing services are an example of how the market is evolving to find new, more sustainable ways to keep people mobile without owning a car,” Hoefsloot says. The company said that vehicles like the Lightyear One and Two generate power themselves and have less moving parts than other cars so their maintenance and operation costs will be comparatively low.
SINGAPORE – A new scheme launched on Tuesday (April 12) will allow electric vehicle (EV) charging point operators and fleet owners here to make money from the use of battery-powered cars, in a move that aims to support the shift away from fossil fuels.
The Electric Vehicle Accelerator programme, designed by local carbon trading firm CRX CarbonBank, will generate carbon credits based on the greenhouse gas emission reductions achieved through the charging of EVs.
This is calculated by comparing against the emissions that would have been generated by internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles that the EVs would have replaced.
These carbon credits will then be sold and, as early as 2025, 30 per cent of the revenue will be shared with companies that participate in the programme.
This money can then be distributed further down the line to reward private-hire car drivers who switch to EVs, or drivers who charge their EVs at participating charging points, for instance.
CRX CarbonBank estimates that for cars and taxis alone, the carbon credit scheme could bring in US$22.8 million (S$31 million) to US$42.8 million in carbon revenue, and cut nine million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by 2040.
On Tuesday, ride-hailing firm Gojek became the first company here to sign up for the new scheme, and more companies are expected to join.
CRX CarbonBank’s co-founder and chief executive Vinod Kesava told The Straits Times that the revenue from the sale of the credits will help to defray the upfront cost of building charging infrastructure and incentivise greater EV adoption here.
A European buyer has already been lined up, but Mr Vinod declined to say more.
CRX CarbonBank said it has also developed a digital platform for the programme to measure and verify the amount of emissions reduced by operating an EV.
It will use a methodology that has been approved by Verra, an American body that sets standards for certifying carbon credits, to measure emissions reduction, and a proprietary system for validation and verification.
The firm has filed a patent application in Singapore for this system, which it says uses blockchain technology to ensure that precise charging data is used.
It worked with local start-up Beep Technologies to build the platform and ensure that charging sessions are recorded properly and that there is no double counting.
To monitor and track the carbon credits generated under the programme, the firm said it will tap the open-source OpenAttestation standard developed by Singapore’s Government Technology Agency.
This is the same standard that has been used to verify education certificates and Covid-19 vaccinations here.
To encourage more firms to join the new carbon credits scheme, CRX CarbonBank said it will provide an early bird grant of US$4.80 for every megawatt-hour of charge that is registered under the scheme.
This grant, payable on an annual basis, will last until February 2024, but may be extended, depending on how many firms sign up, Mr Vinod said.
The firm expects to pay out more than US$2 million in grants by 2024.
Carbon credits are bought by polluters to offset their carbon footprints, with one credit equivalent to reducing or removing 1,000kg of emissions.
The reduction or removal must fulfil several criteria, such as being real and measurable and permanent.
It must also be additional, meaning that the reduction or removal of emissions would not have been undertaken without proceeds from the sale of carbon credits.
While Singapore has already announced plans to phase out all ICE vehicles here by 2040, Mr Vinod said driving an EV is not yet common practice here, and the new EV carbon credit scheme will ideally help accelerate the shift towards greener vehicles.
This is one way the scheme fulfils the “additionality” criteria, he added.
The scheme will end in 2050, when Singapore aims to achieve net-zero emissions, and there are plans to expand it to other countries in South-east Asia.
Said Mr Vinod: “Our efforts will incentivise our partners to contribute to the advancement of Singapore’s net-zero targets by 2050 and help drive the international push to reduce global emissions from transportation.”
Asked about the viability of EV carbon credits in Singapore, Mr Roman Kramarchuk, head of future energy analytics at S&P Global Commodity Insights, said the benefits would be more limited since most of the electricity here is generated using natural gas.
“Unless (the) EV charging system can be directly tied to renewables, physically or financially, there will still be emissions associated with electric charging,” he said.
While a carbon credit scheme can make EV charging more easily accessible and potentially less costly, the key will be the extent to which incentives from the scheme make a difference in the decision-making of new car buyers, Mr Kramarchuk added.
There is also the question of whether a simple subsidy or tax credit may achieve a similar goal, he said.
SINGAPORE – New electric vehicle (EV) registrations continue to grow in the first quarter of the year and are now at 8.1 per cent of all new car registrations.
This is more than double of last year’s annual figure, which was an increase of almost 20-fold compared with 2020.
With the new wave of EV registrations, there are now some 3,600 electric cars in Singapore and around 2,500 charging points, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Amy Khor on Saturday (April 9).
She gave this update at the Singapore Green Plan Conversation on Energy Reset, which was held online on Saturday morning (April 9).
Introduced in 2021, the forum aims to explore solutions to build a sustainable nation as Singapore pushes to lower carbon emissions.
Dr Khor said in her address: “There is great potential for Singapore to decarbonise its energy sector over the next decade. For the transport sector, one needle mover will be transiting from a fuel-based vehicle population to an electricity-based one.”
While the uptick in registration figures was an early sign of a shift to EVs, she added that the Ministry of Transport and Land Transport Authority (LTA) were looking into existing regulations to help EV users.
They include a review of parking regulations in public carparks to ensure that EV spaces are used only for charging.
In LTA’s latest EV charging point tender launched on Friday, Dr Khor said every HDB carpark will have several charging points available to the public by 2025.
She added that operators are encouraged to propose solutions to incentivise users to remove their vehicle once they are done charging.
She said some EV charging operators are planning to impose idle fees for EVs that hog a parking spot after charging is complete.
Said Dr Khor: “Such behaviour is not beneficial to everyone. It means the charging network will be less efficient, and charging costs will be higher for all.”
She urged motorists to use chargers responsibly and to plan when to charge their cars based on their schedule so the car does not need to stay parked for too long.
Charging should also be done in moderation and it is not necessary to keep an EV’s battery full all the time, she added.
The forum was held amid a nationwide effort to adopt sustainable energy options and phase out petrol and diesel cars here by 2040.
The movement was given a boost last year with a slew of government incentives, a wider selection of models and the arrival of US carmaker Tesla.
The incentives rolled out as part of the 2030 Green Plan include the EV Early Adoption Incentive scheme and enhancements to the Vehicular Emissions Scheme, which together shave up to $45,000 off the upfront cost of buying an EV.
The authorities also doubled the number of charging stations it aims to build here by 2030 – from an earlier target of 28,000 to 60,000.
But some car buyers are still wary of EVs as they are generally more expensive than traditional cars, noted Dr Khor, adding that there is a lack of electric models across the whole passenger vehicle spectrum.
The most affordable EV models here generally cost above $110,000, compared with standard cars with an internal combustion engine (ICE) that can be bought for about $80,000.
Many people do not know where to find charging points and how to get chargers installed in their own homes, she added.
She said: “These are valid considerations. Driving an EV will, after all, require some adjustments – motorists will need to pick up new mindsets, habits and behaviours.”
Some attendees at the forum told The Straits Times that they remained hesitant about buying EVs.
Technical programme manager Joseph Lim, 47, said there are no charging points near his housing block at Sengkang, which makes it inconvenient to make the switch.
For now, he will stick to his Toyota Noah, which comes with a hybrid engine that he estimates has cut around 30 per cent of his petrol costs.
University student Brandon Lian, 25, said he is eyeing the Singapore-assembled Hyundai Ioniq 5, an EV expected to launch later this year, but he hopes for lower taxes. “More can be done to even out the price disparity between ICE and EV to motivate consumers.”
Electric cars operated by car-sharing service BlueSG in Singapore.Image: CNA/Gaya Chandramohan
SINGAPORE: Singapore is taking its climate action a step further with new initiatives announced on Tuesday (Mar 8), including plans to make every Housing and Development Board (HDB) town “EV-ready” (electric vehicle) ahead of schedule, and help more businesses improve energy efficiency.
The Government said last month that it would bring forward the country’s target to reach net zero “by or around mid-century”, a move Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean described on Tuesday as “necessary, practical and implementable”, given international developments in technology and carbon markets.
Last week, a major UN report released dire warnings about climate change inaction, with findings showing that irreversible climate impacts are happening faster and with greater intensity than ever before.
In particular, rising temperatures could expose Asia to threats like food scarcity and human-health risks, with an increasing likelihood of heatwaves and floods as well as water- and vector-borne diseases.
“We are already seeing some of these effects – stronger and longer heatwaves, unprecedented droughts and floods, sea-level rise and storm surges affecting communities all over the world,” noted Mr Teo, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security and chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change.
Speaking in Parliament during the ongoing Committee of Supply debate, he said the government will review its 2030 nationally determined contributions (NDCs) – a national roadmap that charts how the country plans to reach net zero – along with its long-term low-emissions development strategy (LEDS).
The Government had said previously that it would decide on a specific net zero year, and make a formal revision to Singapore’s LEDS later this year, after it consults with industry and citizen stakeholder groups.
The five ministries spearheading the national Green Plan also provided updates on existing efforts and announced new initiatives to advance the country’s push towards sustainability.
The five are the ministries of sustainability and the environment (MSE), trade and industry (MTI), transport (MOT), national development (MND), and education (MOE).
While “significant steps” have been taken to build an efficient and sustainable transport system, Transport Minister S Iswaran said more must be done to work towards net zero emission.
To this end, a new target has been set – to reduce Singapore’s land transport emissions by 80 per cent from its 2016 peak of 7.7 million tonnes “by or around mid-century”.
This will be a reduction in absolute emissions, Mr Iswaran said.
Currently, the land transport system accounts for 15 per cent of Singapore’s emissions today, making it the third-largest source of emissions.
“This is an ambitious goal that will require policy moves, new technologies, and behavioural shifts across our land transport system. Along with the decarbonisation of the power grid, electrification of vehicles is a key initiative that will have a material impact,” he said.
Singapore will also accelerate its target of making every HDB town EV-ready by 2025, earlier than its previous target of the 2030s.
This comes after a major survey of switchrooms and substations across the island conducted by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to assess the additional electrical capacity needed to support EV charging.
To support the implementation of EV-ready towns, Mr Iswaran said EV charging points will be installed at nearly 2,000 HDB car parks over the next three to four years.
Meanwhile, the Government will also continue to work closely with various stakeholders to electrify more vehicle segments, said Mr Iswaran.
This includes electrifying half of Singapore’s public buses as well as taxi fleet by 2030, and extending the statutory lifespan of electric taxis from eight to 10 years.
Improving energy efficiency
Businesses will also get extra help to improve their energy efficiency, as Singapore transitions to a lower-carbon economy.
On Tuesday, Sustainability and the Environment Minister Grace Fu announced enhancements to an existing grant to co-fund energy-efficiency projects.
Under the National Environment Agency’s (NEA) Energy Efficiency Fund, businesses looking to invest in energy-efficient technologies will be able to receive a maximum grant support of 70 per cent of qualifying costs from Apr 1.
Currently, the cap for qualifying costs per project is set at 50 per cent.
In a joint release, MSE and NEA said the grants awarded to projects will vary, depending on the carbon abatement achieved.
This means that projects that can reduce more carbon emissions will be able to enjoy higher grant support.
Speaking in Parliament, Ms Fu said the increased support cap will help companies to adopt energy efficiency measures, which will go towards reducing their energy costs and carbon emissions.
She added that the grant application and disbursement process will also be simplified to save businesses time and costs.
As of January, 27 projects have received co-funding support from the energy efficiency fund, achieving an estimated annual carbon abatement of around 1,600 tonnes – the equivalent of taking about 500 cars off the road.
The projects include retrofitting LED lighting, high-efficiency air-conditioning systems as well as variable speed air compressors and boiler systems.
Investing in water technologies and waste recovery
With Singapore looking to reduce the amount of waste sent to its landfill and to optimise its limited resources, the Government has also allocated more funding to drive new initiatives in water technologies and resource circularity.
A sum of S$80 million will be channelled towards supporting research and development on sustainable solutions to recover and find useful applications for resources from key waste streams such as e-waste, plastics and food.
Meanwhile, S$87 million will go towards funding R&D efforts in water technology areas including desalination and water reuse, used water treatment, and waste reduction and resource recovery.
This is on top of the S$51 million funding received by PUB last year, under the Competitive Funding for Water Research as part of the current five-year national Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) Plan – RIE2025.
Ms Fu said the investments will go towards developing high impact solutions for Singapore’s water needs.
“Beyond that, research and innovation will also be an engine for green growth, spurring private sector R&D spending, job creation and technology spin-offs in the water industry and adjacent sectors,” she said.
Developing Green R&D Capabilities
To achieve sustainability as a competitive advantage, the capabilities of institutions such as universities, polytechnics, and ITEs as well as the competencies of Singapore’s graduates and workforce will be the “real needle movers”, said Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing.
He added that the deep research and innovation capabilities of these institutions position them well to advance Singapore’s sustainability goals.
Through projects that they work on with industry, polytechnics can enable local enterprises to reduce their carbon emissions and achieve sustainability goals, said Mr Chan.
He pointed out that autonomous universities are also leveraging their research capabilities for sustainability R&D, and using their own campuses as “living laboratories” to support national research and talent development efforts.
“Our institutions also play an important role in equipping our youth and workforce with the skills and competencies for the growing green economy,” he said.
“We can expect more new jobs to emerge, and more … jobs to adopt green practices. We therefore need to invest in ‘green upskilling’ for our workforce, so that they can seize the new opportunities presented by green growth,” he added.
Greening Singapore’s Economy
Sustainability must also underpin Singapore’s economic strategies, said Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong.
And as Singapore transitions into a low-carbon economy, decarbonising its energy sector will be key as it currently accounts for about 40 per cent of the country’s total emissions.
To do this, the Government will enhance the energy efficiency of power generation plants, find ways to accelerate solar deployment, as well as tap on renewable energy beyond Singapore’s shores, Mr Gan said.
“Singapore’s transition to a low-carbon economy is critical not only to ensure that we are aligned with global efforts on sustainable development, but also to leverage new opportunities in the emerging green economy,” he added.
This includes new green areas such as green finance and sustainable tourism.
Mr Iswaran said the evaluation gave the ministry “confidence” to accelerate the implementation of its plans.
“Over the past five decades, Singapore’s economy has built up significant strengths and competitive advantages. We have adapted to various challenges, and constantly reinvented ourselves to stay relevant in the regional and global economy,” Mr Gan said.
“Our transformation to a low-carbon economy is yet another chapter in the Singapore story. It will be a challenging journey, but an exciting one. The Government will partner our industries, our businesses, and workers, as we undertake this journey.”
Building a more sustainable environment
To support Singapore’s ambitions to be a “City in Nature” and improve urban sustainability, the Government will invest more in R&D to explore solutions that tap on nature and help strengthen the country’s ecological, climate and social resilience.
An additional S$64 million will be invested under the Government’s Cities of Tomorrow programme, which supports R&D across the value chain and focuses on projects that have a high potential for practical implementation and commercialisation, said National Development Minister Desmond Lee.
Mr Lee added that an additional S$45 million has also been committed to fund the enhanced Green Buildings Innovation Cluster (GBIC) programme to support the development, test-bedding and deployment of green technologies and solutions for buildings.
“We will accelerate the commercialisation of these solutions through industry partnerships and help grow the local ecosystem of firms with green building expertise,” he said.
“This way, our companies can compete better in serving the growing global demand for sustainable urban solutions and take the lead to drive sustainable development across the Asia Pacific, home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world.”
The Polestar O2 car showcases advantages in sustainability and tech. Image: Polestar
Developed by Swedish manufacturer Polestar, the hard-top convertible incorporates a drone that can be launched from its dock behind the rear seats whilst driving to capture footage of the journey. In other news, Sony and Honda tie-up to make electric vehicles, Ford splits gas-powered and EV businesses, Stellantis unveils a strategic plan to reach net-zero by 2038, and Tesla offers free supercharging near Ukraine. Panasonic has also unveiled plans for two new production facilities for its large-format cylindrical battery cells.
With electronics set to be the key element of value creation in the auto industry in the years to come, Polestar, a joint venture between Volvo and the automaker’s Chinese parent company Geely, has revealed a new concept car that integrates an autonomous cinematic drone. Steering away from the mass market, the Swedish premium automotive brand presented this week its second concept car, a sports roadster named Polestar O2. The hard-top convertible incorporates a drone that can be launched from its dock behind the rear seats whilst driving to capture footage of the journey. The drone operates autonomously, automatically following the car at speeds up to 90km/h. In addition, Polestar’s new design takes the next steps toward greater circularity with recycled polyester thermoplastic mono-material and aluminum labeling, allowing them to be recycled more effectively and for their properties to be retained.
Japanese electronics manufacturer Panasonic has revealed plans for two new production facilities for its lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles (EVs). The company officially announced on Monday that it will establish a manufacturing facility at its Wakayama Factory in western Japan to make new, high-capacity 4680 lithium-ion battery cells for EVs. Panasonic said it is currently in the process of developing the new battery cells across multiple locations within Japan and that mass production is set to start by the fiscal year ending in March 2024. Last month, Panasonic announced it will be giving US electric car manufacturer Tesla top priority for the new 4680 battery cells. Without revealing any performance data, Panasonic presented a prototype for its 4680 battery cell in October last year. Shortly before, Tesla unveiled its own 4680 battery cell produced at its Kato facility in California. Six times the power of the NCA battery cell currently used by the US carmaker, Panasonic’s 4680 cylindrical cell – 46 millimeters wide and 80 millimeters tall – is designed not only to improve the range and performance of electric cars but also to be cheaper per kWh and significantly reduce the investment costs in their production. Tesla is currently building its 4680 cells at a facility in Fremont, in California, and deploying large-scale production at other factories, including Gigafactory Texas and Gigafactory Berlin. Its first model with 4680 cells – the Model Y – built at Giga Texas is about to be released for sale. But this is not where the Panasonic-Tesla news end. On Friday, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported that Panasonic is looking to purchase land in the US to make a mega-factory in Oklahoma or Kansas close to Texas where Tesla is preparing a new EV plant. The news hasn’t been confirmed by the Japanese corporation.
Sony Group and Honda Motor will team up to develop electric vehicles, as the Japanese tech firm continues to further its next-generation mobility ambitions. The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a joint venture this year and market their first EV model in 2025. Honda will make the cars, while Sony will develop the mobility service platform. The electronics manufacturer first signaled its intention to drive into the electromobility market at CES 2020 when it displayed its Vision-S concept EV, showcasing its entertainment and software expertise. At CES 2022 held in January, Sony showed its SUV-type vehicle Vision-S 02 and announced plans to create a new company called Sony Mobility, saying it was exploring a commercial launch of EVs.
This week, Amsterdam-headquartered conglomerate Stellantis has unveiled its Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan, committing to reaching carbon net-zero emissions by 2038, with an interim goal of 50% reduction by 2030. As part of that agenda, the company, a 50-50 merger between the Italian-American conglomerate Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the French PSA Group, has set a course for 100% of sales in Europe and 50% of sales in the United States to be battery electric vehicles by the end of this decade. Its plan is to have more than 75 BEVs and reach global annual BEV sales of five million vehicles by 2030. Towards this goal, Stellantis has taken the wraps off its first fully electric jeep, scheduled to launch in 2023, and presented a preview of its new Ram 1500 BEV pickup truck arriving in 2024. The company’s ambitious plan also outlines its intention to double its net revenues to €300 billion by 2030.
In a bid to strengthen their sustainability credentials, both Kia and Hyundai have announced plans to source renewable energy to power their EV charging networks in Europe. The South Korean automakers have made separate investments and agreements with e-mobility service provider Digital Charging Solutions (DCS) to ensure that its customers charging needs are met by energy generated by wind farms from across Europe. With the help of the green charging option provided by DCS and through the purchase of Guarantee of Origin (GO) certificates, both companies will ensure that their European charging networks – my Hyundai and Kia Charge – run on renewable energy, with the equivalent amount of energy for every charging usage fed back into the grid as green electricity.
Another major carmaker, US-based Ford, is looking to speed up its transition to EVs with one of the most sweeping reorganizations to date. The automaker announced on Wednesday that it is splitting its operations into two distinct businesses – electric vehicle and gas-powered divisions. Ford’s chief executive, Jim Farley, said in an interview with Bloomberg that the two businesses required different skills and mindsets that would clash and hinder each area if they remained parts of one organization. “You can’t be successful and beat Tesla that way,” he said. Ford expects to produce more than two million EVs annually by 2026, representing about one-third of its global volume, rising to half by 2030. According to Farley, Ford will spend $50 billion on EVs between 2022 and 2026, up from previously planned $30 in the five years ending in 2025. It plans to spend $5 billion on EVs in 2022, a two-fold increase over 2021.
Meanwhile, newcomers to the automotive sector are doing their bit to speed up the electrification of transport. California-based EV start-up Mullen Technologies has reported impressive results from its solid-state battery testing, including a range of 600-plus miles (965 km) on a full charge and over 300 miles (483km) of range delivered in 18 minutes with DC fast charging. The company tested its 300 Ah cell which yielded 343 Ah at 4.3 volts and “the results exceeded all expectations”. Mullen is working towards utilizing solid-state polymer battery packs in its second generation Mullen FIVE EV Crossovers, with in-vehicle prototype testing set for 2025. Mullen’s first-generation FIVE EV Crossover, due in late 2024, is planned to launch with traditional lithium-ion cell chemistry. In parallel, the company is also conducting research on lithium-sulfur and lithium-iron-phosphate batteries.
Starting from Monday, Tesla has temporarily enabled free supercharging for both Tesla and non-Tesla cars at sites impacted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Superchargers will first open in Trzebownisko, Poland and Košice, Slovakia, east of the Ukraine border, as well as Miskolc and Debrecen south-east of Ukraine in Hungary. “We hope that this helps give you the peace of mind to get to a safe location,” the company said in a note to customers. This initiative marks Tesla’s first time activating free supercharging for non-Tesla vehicles.
Electric vehicle owners may soon be able to simply park and charge, no wires needed, with a new product under development from WiTricity.
The company has announced a limited beta release of its Halo wireless charging station this year, with wider availability in 2023. WiTricity has already been providing EV automakers with factory-installed EV wireless charging tech, and it now plans to make a consumer-level aftermarket product.
The Halo system can deliver 11kW of wireless charging. It consists of three key components, including a power receiver installed on the vehicle, a wall box that connects to wired power, and a charging pad installed on (or in) the ground.
The system uses core magnetic resonance charging to power EVs. WiTricity’s charging system, peripheral systems, and controlling software have been awarded more than 1,200 patents. The technology is has been instrumental in developing global wireless charging standards, including SAE International, International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and the Standardization Administration of the People’s Republic of China (GB).
A pilot Tesla Model 3 has been running fully on wireless charging in Watertown, Massachusetts, since October. The vehicle can be fully charged in less than six hours, which is just as fast as plugging in at home.
“Our successful upgrade of the Tesla Model 3 is resonating with consumers as an easier, more convenient way to charge their EVs,” said WiTricity CEO Alex Gruzen. “With the WiTricity Halo solution you just park and walk away, knowing you will return to a fully charged car. Day to day, it’s as if your car had infinite range, which will help accelerate EV adoption and propel us to a greener future.”
The company said it is currently evaluating which models to offer wireless upgrades for, based on customer demand, technical feasibility, and automaker support. Companies interested in the beta program can follow on the WiTricity website.
ARENA has opened round two of its Future Fuels Program, allocating $127.9 million in funding to support fleets to shift to new zero emissions vehicles over the next four years, be that electric, hydrogen, or biofuels.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced the success of the first round of its Future Fuels funding has led to a “cash boost” in the second round, enabling it to launch its fleet program with a $127.9 million envelope.
Funding will be available for light vehicle fleet operators for charging and electrical infrastructure, while heavy fleet operators are eligible for funding towards enabling infrastructure and some support for vehicle costs.
Under Round 1, ARENA awarded $24.55 million to five companies for the construction of 403 electric vehicle fast charging stations spread across every state and territory.
ARENA CEO Darren Miller described it has “the largest ever expansion of public fast charging infrastructure in Australia.” The first of these charging stations opened for public use in November 2021.
“Assisting fleet users to move to zero emissions vehicles (ZEV) means getting more zero emission cars and trucks on the road sooner, driving the road transport sector toward a net zero future,” Miller said.
“By getting these vehicles on the road as soon as possible we’ll reduce emissions in the short term and help to create a market for second hand vehicles in the future, giving more consumers the option of switching to a ZEV with their next vehicle purchase.”
With the additional funding, the total value of the Future Fuels Fund has been brought to $250 million. The fund aims to deliver on the Future Fuels and Vehicles Strategy released by the federal government at the end of 2021.
Future targeted funding rounds under the program will focus on further expansions to the electric vehicle public charging network, including regional areas, as well as increasing the use of smart chargers in drivers’ homes, ARENA said.