SINGAPORE - Singapore's first large-scale electric car-sharing scheme has piqued the interest of drivers here, with more than 100 rentals in the first three hours after it was launched.
A spokesman for electric-car sharing firm, BlueSG, said all its 80 cars were rented out at least once between 4pm and 7pm on Tuesday (Dec 12).
When The Straits Times attempted to rent a vehicleon Wednesday morning (Dec 13), all had been rented out at numerous locations, including Sengkang, Punggol and Bishan.
Using the plan with no monthly subscription and with rides costing 50 cents per minute, prices were comparable to those of taxis or private-hire car services such as Grab and Uber.
A 35-minute drive in a BlueSG car from Toa Payoh Lorong 2 to Mohamed Sultan Road, for example, cost $17.50.
A similar trip by private-hire car would cost around $18, while the price for a metered taxi would have been between $16 and $20.
However, the per-minute pricing for the electric car also means that the cost of a ride can also fluctuate depending on traffic conditions.
Travelling from Pasir Ris Street 72 to Toa Payoh Lorong 2, normally a 20-minute drive, took this reporter about 50 minutes due to traffic and getting used to the car.
This meant the rental for the drive was $27, compared to between $16 and $18 for a taxi or around $14 for a private-hire car for the same trip.
Around 2,000 people have signed up as BlueSG users since last week.
One of them is 59-year-old Mr Henry Lee, who is waiting for his BlueSG member card after applying for the service on Tuesday.
Mr Lee, who works part-time as a consultant in the finance sector, used to own a car but said it became expensive to do so.
He said BlueSG's per-use rental costs made it an attractive choice.
Mr Steven Lee, who drove a BlueSG car from Bishan to Sengkang on Wednesday, said it was "easy to learn, handle and manage" the car.
"It was also smooth to draw out the car from the charging station and return it," said the 35-year-old IT support administrator.
Some however, found the process inconvenient. It involves users tapping their credit card or BlueSG membership card at the charging station, keying in a personal identification number, tapping the card again at the car to unlock it before unplugging it from the charging station.
Deitrich Mohan, a 34-year-old emcee, who drove a BlueSG car to run errands for about 55 minutes on Tuesday, said the car was "not intuitive".
"You really have to spend some time to explore all the functions, and since it charges by the minute you might end up burning money in the process."