SP Group will now build 1,000 EV charging points



The move doubles its initial target of 500 chargers around the island by 2020, announced just four months ago. Also coming: Ultra-fast chargers

SINGAPORE — Just four months after saying it would build 500 charging points for electric vehicles (EVs) around Singapore by 2020, SP Group announced today that it is doubling its target to 1,000 chargers.

The charging points will be part of an island-wide network that includes such locations as shopping malls, residential areas, business parks and industrial sites, as well as sites close to coffee shops and food outlets.

A spokesperson for SP Group told CarBuyer that not all of the 1,000 charging points will be for the public; some will be for fleet users while the “vast majority” of the 1,000 points will be for any EV driver.

The network’s first 30 points will be running by year end, and thereafter will install around 100 charging points per quarter.

250 of the planned charging points will be high-speed DC (or direct current) chargers. In June the nation’s power grid operator had said it would install a hundred 50 kilowatt (kW) chargers, which can fully recharge some electric cars in half an hour, but the company says some of its new chargers will be up to seven times faster.

The 350kW chargers that SP Group is planning are nearly 50 times faster than the wall-mounted chargers the EV owners install at homes, and could recharge some smaller EVs in minutes.

But not all of today’s EVs can accept a charge at that speed. Hyundai’s Ioniq Electric has a maximum charge rate of 100kW, for example. At that current it would be topped up to 92 percent capacity in 15 minutes or less, which would be good for around 200km of driving.

The BMW i3 can take 50kW, at which rate it would be recharged in half an hour.

Upcoming EVs such as the Jaguar I-Pace, Audi e-tron (below) and Mercedes-Benz EQC are compatible with 150kW charging — they would provide around 200km of driving range after half an hour of charging at that rate.

Carmakers generally set EVs to accept a fast charge until the batteries reach around 80 percent capacity (or 92 percent in Hyundai’s case), then slow down the charge rate to protect the batteries.

SP Group said its new, extra-high-powered chargers are meant for “new upcoming EV models with bigger battery capacities and longer driving ranges.”

The rest of SP Group’s charging network (meaning 750 charging points) will be AC (alternating current) chargers rated at 22kWh, which charge cars at a gentler pace.

SP Group is expanding its charging network in part to support HDT, the country’s largest electric taxi operator.

“SP’s network will provide our drivers with greater convenience and flexibility as they plan their driving routes, enabling them to stay longer on the roads to serve Singaporean customers,” James Ng, the managing director of HDT (pictured top, left), said in a statement.

He said HDT (which stands for “Hold Dreams Together”) used to build and operate its own charging points for its drivers, but will now focus on “optimising its taxi operations”. The company was given a 10-year taxi operator licence in August and wants to have 800 electric cabs on the road by 2022. HDT uses e-taxis built by China’s BYD group but said it was now considering other EVs for its fleet.

In August SP Group inked a deal with Grab that will see the ride-hailing company add 200 EVs to its fleet, starting in 2019. Grab drivers who go electric will enjoy preferential charging rates when using SP Group’s charging network.

The grid operator’s  strategic development head Goh Chee Kiong (pictured top, right) said in a statement that its plans will help the country reduce its carbon footprint. Most of Singapore’s electricity is generated from natural gas, which is among the cleanest of fossil fuels.

SP Group is also planning to set up charging services for other EVs, such as buses and other heavy-duty vehicles. Between that and lining up a ready pool of taxi and Grab drivers to use the chargers, SP Group is doing what it can to make sure that its charging network sees enough demand to make it a sustainable business. Whether the average Singapore driver takes to EVs, such initiatives mean there will be takers for EV chargers.  

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Leow Ju-Len
Leow Ju-Len is a lot older than he behaves. He's been writing about cars for 23 years. Someday he might do it coherently. Ju-Len believes in world peace and V8s, but not necessarily in that order.