Singapore aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050; this is part of our national Long-Term Low-Emissions Development Strategy (LEDS) for sustainability and climate responsibility.
The land transport sector needs significant decarbonising in order to accomplish this aim; the sector presently accounts for about 15 per cent of our emissions.
This is why electric vehicles (EVs) have a major role to play.
“The carbon emissions of an electric car are about half of an internal combustion engine (ICE),” shared Minister for Transport S Iswaran in Parliament (Nov 30) during the second reading of the Electric Vehicles Charging Bill. It was eventually passed after a debate that saw more than 10 MPs spoke.
He noted too that this rate will become more environmentally-friendly as technology advances and more renewable sources enter our energy mix.
And the Bill will make sure three things: that EV chargers are safe and safely used; the reliability of the EV charging network and services; and the accessibility of the EV charging network.
EVs are being adopted increasingly across Singapore. In particular, more than 10 per cent of new light vehicle registrations were EVs, a 30-fold increase from 0.3 per cent in 2020.
So the Bill will regulate the supply, advertisement, installation, registration, maintenance, and use of EV chargers.
In particular, the Bill addresses potential fires from the unsafe charging of EVs.
“EV chargers capable of charging detachable EV batteries will not be allowed in residences because of the risk of battery fires,” stated Minister Iswaran.
Also, manufacturers or suppliers must alert people about safety defects in EV chargers supplied, inform about how to rectify the defect and then report to the Land Transport Authority (LTA) once this rectification completes.
“Clause Six of the Bill specifies that all charges supplied in Singapore must belong to a homologated model that meets the national charging standard, which is Technical Reference 25 or TR 25,” said the Minister.
The TR 25 standard introduces the role of an equipment specialist — one who is proficient and has sufficient knowledge of charger components — to assist in the installing and maintaining of chargers.
“Clause 15 of the Bill prohibits the advertisement of non-approved EV charger models,” added the Minister.
He also stated that the Government can prevent further publication of, as well as disable access to, such an offending advertisement and force the offending body to publish a corrective.
A special authorisation regime is also allowed for chargers to be trialled under controlled conditions until they are eventually incorporated into Singapore’s standards.
“New and emerging charging solutions may not comply with TR 25,” noted Minister Iswaran on this point.
The Bill also allows LTA to maintain a national register of EV chargers, which will also ensure accountability for the proper use and maintenance of these chargers.
The Bill also introduces the licensing regime for EV charging service providers, making sure that Singapore’s EV charging network stays reliable.
“The services provided by such EV charging operators will include hiring or fixing EV chargers, EV battery-swapping and renting of portable EV chargers,” detailed Minister Iswaran.
Plus, EV charging operators must obtain a license which will be valid for three years and renewable.
“Licensing conditions will include the purchase of public liability insurance and correcting EV charging service downtime issues within the specified duration,” said the Minister.
Other EV charging licensees may step in to replace another under the Bill. This is a last resort for minimising disruption and facilitating a smoother transition for the affected EV users.
“For example, this may be a licensee with a large scale of operations in Singapore. If the license of your designated licensee is revoked or surrendered, the Minister for Transport may on the advice of LTA invoke Clause 57 of the Bill to authorise a step-in operator to take over the designated licensee’s operations temporarily for no more than 12 months,” stated Minister Iswaran.
“With more vehicles going electric, all car parks in Singapore will need to provide for EV charging,” said Minister Iswaran.
Here, the Bill mandates that EV chargers must be provided by building developers as well as development owners carrying out certain types of electrical works during substantial renovations.
“First, developers must install electrical infrastructure that supports at least 1.3 kilovolt amperes of power for every car and motorcycle parking lot in the development,” said the Minister.
“And second, developers must install a minimum number of charging points which will draw at least one-fifth of that amount of power,” he continued.
In other words, the mandate provides “the flexibility to deploy a mix of charging points with different power ratings at more or fewer lots, depending on the needs of users”.
“So for instance, some developers may opt to have more charging lots installed with lower-powered chargers, but others may have fewer lots installed with higher-power chargers,” explained the Minister.
“So there’s a trade-off because for a given electrical capacity, if you choose to have more high power charges, then you’ll have fewer charging stations.”
A Green Evolution
Condos and other strata-titled developments will also only require passing an Ordinary Resolution at General Meeting level when installing or uninstalling EV chargers, added Minister Iswaran.
Additionally, these efforts must not draw upon the funds of the development’s management corporation. And the resulting partnership between the management corporation and the EV charging operator must not last for more than ten years.
“So that’s a safeguard around the use of funds. And there’s also a safeguard around the duration of the contract,” said the Minister.
This last point is important since there will be about 60,000 EV charging points across Singapore by 2030.
Exponential growth is foreseen, and where EV charging and related technologies evolve, Singapore’s rules and regulations need to keep pace with them.
“This Electric Vehicles Charging Bill is an important foundation and first step. It is a milestone in Singapore’s quest for a sustainable land transport system and in our journey towards net zero emissions by 2050,” concluded Minister Iswaran.
Cover photo credit: LTA