Trial for 'battery swap and charge' stations for electric motorcycles to begin soon

A woman charges the battery of her electric scooter at the Gogoro's charging station in Taipei, Taiwan, on  10 August, 2017. (Reuters file photo)
A woman charges the battery of her electric scooter at the Gogoro's charging station in Taipei, Taiwan, on 10 August, 2017. (Reuters file photo)

SINGAPORE — A year-long trial for "battery swap and charge" stations for electric motorcycles will begin in Singapore in the next few weeks, as part of the city-state's efforts to transit to cleaner-energy vehicles.

Both Taiwanese electric scooter startup Gogoro and Singapore-based MO Batteries' applications for running electric motorcycle and battery swapping regulatory sandbox pilots have been approved by the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

Such sandboxes will allow depleted electric motorcycle batteries to be swapped with fully-charged ones in a matter of seconds, said Transport Minister S Iswaran at Land Transport Industry Day 2022 on Friday (2 September).

"With the growing range of charging solutions, we hope to encourage the adoption of more electric motorcycle models in Singapore. And LTA is continuing its engagement with several industry players on more of such pilot sandboxes," he added.

Partners for the trial

Gogoro will partner investment holding company Jardine Cycle & Carriage to conduct trials using their Gogoro Smartscooters, GoStation battery swap stations and smart batteries. Jardine Cycle & Carriage will manage Gogoro's battery swapping network and vehicle fleet in Singapore, as well as explore working with food delivery and logistics fleets in the country.

"Today in Taiwan, Gogoro's battery swapping enables more than a quarter of all quick commerce deliveries like food and online purchases and nearly 100 per cent of all electric deliveries," said Gogoro founder and chief executive officer Horace Luke.

This partnership will introduce a new sustainable business model for food delivery and logistics fleets in Singapore as well as in other cities across the region in the future, he added.

MO Batteries will partner with SingPost and security firm Prosegur to conduct their pilots. MO will charge detachable electric motorcycle batteries on their premises and deliver the fully-charged batteries to battery store and swap stations located at their partners’ premises.

"The sandbox gives MO the opportunity to demonstrate the safe operation of electric motorbikes in Singapore as an integral part of the Singapore Green Plan," said MO’s co-founder Tom Streitberg.

Two charging sandboxes already in operation

In Singapore, two electric vehicle charging sandboxes are already in operation: Tesla’s superchargers and the pantograph chargers for public buses.

Iswaran said that Singapore authorities are aiming to make every Housing and Development Board (HDB) town electric vehicle-ready by 2025, by installing charging points in nearly 2,000 HDB car parks over the next three to four years.

"There has been strong interest in the recently launched tender for HDB car park charging points, and it will be awarded in the next few months. Apart from HDB car parks, we have also introduced the EV Common Charger Grant to encourage more private premises like condominiums to install charging points," he said.

To equip workshop technicians with the skills to work safely in an electric vehicle environment, authorities have launched the National EV Safety Specialist Certification Programme.

Technicians can sign up for subsidised courses and obtain certification under the Workforce Skills Qualification framework developed by SkillsFuture Singapore. Three of these courses – at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic, and the Institute of Technical Education – are now open for enrolment.

Complementing the new certification, LTA is also partnering Workforce Singapore (WSG) to offer salary support for workshop technicians who are training under the WSG Career Conversion Programme for Sustainability Professionals.

"This transition will bring opportunities and jobs for our workers, who will also need to be equipped with new skillsets. And while the journey will take many years, we need to start investing in skills upgrading now," said Iswaran.

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