Electric cars the driving force to cut emissions

BlueSG electric car-sharing vehicles at a charging station during their launch in Singapore.

Electric and hybrid cars are the future of driving, with countries intensifying efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The Straits Times looks at the progress made.

Australia: The spark plug of the world's electric cars

A Tesla wall connector demonstrates the charging at home of a Model X vehicle at a Tesla electric car dealership in Sydney, Australia. PHOTO: REUTERS

A vast stretch of remote territory in Western Australia has become the epicentre of the world's electric car and battery storage boom.

The area, once famous for sourcing the iron ore that supplied China's construction boom, is now providing the lithium required for the world's so-called energy revolution.

Australia is the world's largest supplier of lithium, with roughly half of the global supply coming from a growing number of mines scattered across the resource-rich state of Western Australia.


Roadblocks ahead for India's electric car ambitions

An employee walks past a Mahindra e2o electric car on display at Mahindra's showroom in Mumbai, India. PHOTO: REUTERS

Carmakers in India are gearing up to meet an ambitious government deadline to sell only electric cars in the country by 2030, but analysts say the path ahead is filled with obstacles.

The Indian government has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 37 per cent by 2030 and reduce oil demand by 64 per cent.

Carmakers are planning to ramp up the production of electric vehicles. One of them is Mahindra & Mahindra, which has electric cars in the market and is now looking into electric trains.


Efforts to promote use of electric cars in Singapore and other countries


A BlueSG electric car driving along Science Park Drive in Singapore. ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

Singapore launched its first large-scale electric car sharing programme last month with 80 battery-powered hatchbacks and 32 charging stations. It aims to have 1,000 electric cars and 500 charging locations by 2020.

For now, roads are dominated by fossil-fuel vehicles. As of last July, there were only 132 plug-in petrol-electric hybrids and 12 pure electric vehicles out of 606,000 cars in Singapore, says the Land Transport Authority.


People gather at the booth of Chinese electric vehicle start-up Nio as it unveils its ES8 SUV at the Shanghai auto show. PHOTO: REUTERS

China, which has a nagging pollution problem, is the world leader in sales of new-energy vehicles - electric, plug-in hybrids and fuel-cell. Sales of such vehicles jumped 51.4 per cent in the 11 months to November and are expected to top one million units this year.

Beijing has set a target of seven million vehicles by 2025 and is doling out subsidies.

Homegrown models are riding the wave. ES8, made by start-up NIO can run up to 500km on a single charge. It costs 448,000 yuan (S$93,400) - a little more than half the 836,000 yuan that Tesla's Model X SUV costs in China.


Paris is home to Autolib, the world's largest electric car-sharing scheme with more than 4,000 vehicles. The company behind Autolib supplied the charging infrastructure and cars of Singapore's just-launched scheme.

The administration of President Emmanuel Macron, who has vowed to "make the planet great again", says sales of all petrol and diesel vehicles will be banned by 2040. That could prove ambitious as such vehicles represented 95.2 per cent of French new car fleets in the first half of last year, while electric and hybrid vehicles accounted for less than 5 per cent.


Oil-rich Norway boasts the world's highest rate of battery-vehicle ownership, thanks to generous tax breaks and subsidies. It has the highest per capita number of electric vehicles, with 216 per 10,000 population.

Electric or hybrid vehicles accounted for more than half of all new cars sold in Norway in 2017. The country also has a target of zero emissions for all new cars by 2025.

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