Powering Up Singapore's Drive Towards Electric Vehicles

Schneider Electric's eMobility programs offer integrated end-to-end solutions to help businesses and organisations scale up charging infrastructure and improve energy efficiency.

Earlier this year, the Singapore Green Plan 2030 was launched. It is a whole-of-nation movement towards sustainable development, to inspire people to embrace green practices as a way of life. Aspiring towards the longer-term goal of net zero-emissions, Singapore has announced its plan to phase out all internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by 2040, paving the way for electric vehicles (EVs) to take over the roads.

In 2015, we had a total of one fully electric car in Singapore. By the end of 2019, the EV population had grown to 1,120. Range anxiety due to the lack of charging infrastracture was the largest barrier to EV adoption, but all this is set to change. Singapore has pledged to expand the number of EV charging points from 1,600 to 60,000 by 2030, and to have at least eight “EV-Ready Towns” by 2025, with HDB car parks fitted with EV charging points. Over $30 million has been set aside for EV initiatives over the next five years, while an early-adoption incentive scheme will encourage drivers to make the switch to electric.

The approaching disruption of the transportation sector is not unique to Singapore. Countries like UK, France and Norway have also announced plans to phase out ICE vehicles, and citizens and governments across the globe are looking to increase sustainability and lower carbon emissions. The global EV market share is poised to grow 10x in the next 10 years, and experts predict that EVs will reach price parity with ICE vehicles as soon as 2023.

The challenges of making the switch to EV

However, the transition from ICE to EVs will not be without its challenges. A transportation system based on EVs will drive demand for electricity by a factor of three times. This surge in energy demand will mean an increased risk of power overloads and outages. The existing power capacities of buildings are not designed for vehicular charging, placing limits on the amount of power that can be drawn in a particular location.

Indeed, purchasing the EVs is the easy part; building and scaling up charging infrastracture is often cited as the biggest challenge faced by EV fleet operators. The EV ecosystem is also complex and fragmented. It is made up of multiple players including utility companies, fleet operators, government regulators, infrastructure providers and car manufacturers, and their respective missions and boundaries may be unclear.

A Smart e-Mobility Ecosystem is the way forward

In order to address these challenges, Singapore will require the digital integration of four ecosystems: grid, buildings, city and drivers. These ecosystems must be integrated seamlessly to ensure interoperability, and to enable an efficient and cost-effective transportation system.

An intelligent EV infrastructure is needed to lay the groundwork for this ecosystem to succeed and scale up. Through the use of analytics and edge control, a smart infrastracture can facilitate communication between grid, buildings, city and drivers, enabling the intelligent consumption of energy, reducing power congestion, increasing resiliency and improving cost efficiency. A number of promising solutions can support the digital transformation of our e-Mobility ecosystem:

Smart Charging
The power supply for most buildings and sites in Singapore are not designed to meet the increased demand for EV charging stations. Installing new EV charging stations can result in exceeding electrical capacity, while creating extra power capacity is a costly process. Smart charging technology addresses this problem, balancing the charging needs of EVs with the conditions of the power system. It allows charging stations to dynamically adjust charging patterns and intelligently consume available energy, shifting the charging of EVs from peak to off-peak periods. This enables a more cost-effective and energy-efficient way for drivers to charge up their cars.

V2G Technology
Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology allows two-way power flows between a car battery and the energy grid. Since cars are parked 90% of the time on average, unused electricity stored in the battery can be tapped on, flowing back into the grid whenever it is needed. A connected network of plugged-in vehicles can collectively form a decentralised energy storage system of a virtual power plant, storing up excess solar energy during the day and supplying energy during peak hours at night, for example. V2G holds the potential to unlock new business models for drivers and fleet operators. By using their EVs to provide this service, vehicle owners can generate a return on their investment and lower costs by up to 42%, and at the same time contribute to increasing the resiliency of the energy grid.

Intelligent Microgrids
Renewable energy will play an increasingly important role in the coming years, as Singapore plans to quadruple solar energy deployment by 2025. These renewable resources can be more effectively integrated into our energy ecosystem by deploying microgrids. Microgrids are self-contained energy networks that can integrate distributed or renewable energy resources such as solar. As they are “islands” protected from grid instability, they can be deployed to provide greater local reliability for charging stations and optimize power output

to charging points during peak hours. Through smart technology and on-site storage, energy supply and demand can be balanced intelligently and optimally. Businesses and organisations can switch between multiple sources of energy from the microgrid or utility grid, tapping on the most cost-effective energy source at any moment.

Towards a Future-Ready e-mobility Ecosystem

Over the next decade, our energy and transportation systems will be reshaped towards a greener net-zero future. Innovative solutions are needed to create an efficient, resilient, sustainable and future-ready EV ecosystem for Singapore.

As a global leader in energy infrastructures, Schneider Electric has engaged in EV research and development for many years and established key partnerships with utilities, automobile manufacturers and other stakeholders. Our eMobility programs offer integrated end-to-end solutions to help businesses and organisations scale up charging infrastructure, achieve faster time to market, lower costs and improve energy efficiency.

Learn more about how Schneider Electric can help support your EV strategies here.

Written by: Kim Yoon Young Cluster President, Schneider Electric Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei. 

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