Singapore’s goal this year has been to prevent growth in its car population. The solution? A new electric car-sharing program.
The city-state’s government hopes it will encourage Singaporean citizens to use public transport options and reduce the need to own their own vehicles.
The new large-scale project will be run for 10 years by BlueSG, the car-sharing unit of the French electrical company, Bollore Group. BlueSG also runs other electric vehicle sharing projects in cities including Paris and Los Angeles.
BlueSG has established 80 electric vehicles and 32 charging stations for public use in Singapore. It hopes to increase this fleet to 1,000 cars and 2,000 charging points by 2020. This would make Singapore’s version the second-biggest electric car-sharing program after Paris.
Around 2,000 people have signed up for the service. The cost of actually driving the cars will be either $0.24 a minute with an annual subscription or $0.37 a minute.
Will the Singapore car-sharing program work?
It is already pretty difficult to own a car in Singapore. The government controls its vehicle population; it sets an annual growth rate and citizens must bid for the right to own and use a car for only a limited number of years.
This is because of the scarcity of land available in the city-state.
In addition, a car in Singapore can often cost four times the price of the same car in the US in order to discourage ownership.
As a result of these restrictions, only about 15 percent of Singaporeans own a car.
Car sharing programs are one way of driving down the carbon emissions emitted by vehicles, as well as reducing the number of cars on the road.
Earlier this year, the largest European peer-to-peer rental website Drivy, launched in the UK to encourage car sharing in London. However, Drivy’s program encourages people to rent out their own cars when they’re not using them. This is different to BlueSG’s proposition which negates the need for car ownership in the first place.
Pollution emissions in London regularly break European Union and World Health Organisation limits. At least car-sharing offers one way to reduce this problem.