Trials start for new system to allow electric motorcycles to replace depleted batteries at stations

Transport Minister S. Iswaran viewing a pay-at-point solution for electric vehicle charging by Voltality on Sept 2, 2022. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

SINGAPORE - Two companies here will be testing battery swopping systems that could allow electric vehicle (EV) users to swop out their depleted batteries instead of waiting for their EVs to be charged.

Two trials, each lasting 12 months, by electric scooter companies Gogoro and MO Batteries will involve 26 electric motorcycles and two battery swopping stations, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Friday.

Electric motorcycle fleet management specialist MO Batteries will work with Singapore Post and security company Prosegur to have their riders on the trials.

Gogoro’s partner, diversified motor group Jardine Cycle & Carriage (JC&C), will work with food delivery and logistics fleet companies to deploy the vehicles.

The trials, which are slated to start this month, will examine the potential of swopping battery technology for motorcycles, said LTA. 

It follows the revision in March of the technical standards surrounding EV charging that addresses battery swopping for motorcycles, and is part of the nation’s push to make land transport and other sectors environmentally friendly.

Gogoro will partner JC&C to use 20 electric motorcycles and 100 swoppable batteries across two stations.

The batteries in each vehicle can last for around 100km. Gogoro said swopping out depleted batteries for fully charged ones will take seconds.

The battery swopping stations will be modular in design to allow for expansion with more charging points, said the company. 

Gogoro had participated in the development of the revised standards relating to EV charging in Singapore, including the details on battery swopping systems.

The company said that one of its key objectives in the trial is to have its battery swopping platform certified under the revised standards. 

MO Batteries will trial six electric motorcycles, 30 swoppable batteries and 14 chargers across two battery store-and-swop stations.

The locations of the two stations have yet to be announced.

LTA said to further support the move towards cleaner vehicles, new training and certification courses have been launched. This initiative was first announced in May.

Technicians can sign up for subsidised courses and obtain certification related to the safety and maintenance of EVs under the Workforce Skills Qualification framework developed by SkillsFuture Singapore.

Three of these courses from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic and the Institute of Technical Education are now open for enrolment.

Along with the certification, employers with staff undergoing training will also be qualified for salary support of up to six months.

On Friday, Transport Minister S. Iswaran also gave an update on the Forward Singapore exercise relating to the area of transport.

The exercise was launched in June by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong. It will see the fourth-generation leaders work with Singaporeans to review and refresh the social compact and plan for the future. 

Mr Iswaran said Singapore must arrive at a new equilibrium in terms of what its land transport system should look like, and how it will balance the competing needs of choice, climate and costs.

Speaking at an event to mark Land Transport Industry Day, the minister said that over the next few months, the Ministry of Transport and LTA will engage Singaporeans to hear their opinions and ideas on the issue.

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