Singapore launched on Tuesday its first large-scale electric car-sharing programme through which the land-scarce city-state hopes to provide commuters with more transport options and steer them away from the need to buy their own cars.
The service, which will be run for a decade by BlueSG, a unit of France’s Bollore Group, is a part of Singapore’s plans to reduce the number of vehicles on its roads and encourage the use of public transport.
Singapore, with well-maintained roads and relatively smooth traffic conditions, has also been encouraging the testing of various self-driving technologies.
Already about 80 cars and 32 charging stations are available for public use, BlueSG said in a statement on Tuesday.
It aims to roll out a fleet of 1,000 electric vehicles and 2,000 charging points by 2020. BlueSG said Singapore’s service will become the world’s second-biggest electric car-sharing programme after Paris.
The statement did not show how much the project costs. Singapore’s government has provided some funding for the programme’s infrastructure.
BlueSG’s cars feature two-door hatchbacks that carry four people running on lithium-metal polymer batteries that drive up to 200 kilometres (124.27 miles) on a full charge.
Users can subscribe to one of two membership plans and will be charged either S$0.33 ($0.24) per minute with an annual subscription or S$0.50 per minute. The rate per minute is similar to prices in Paris for Bollore’s Autolib car-sharing service.
BlueSG said 2,000 members had registered to the service ahead of the launch.
Singapore tightly controls its vehicle population by setting an annual growth rate and through a system of bidding for the right to own and use a vehicle for a limited number of years.
A mid-range car in Singapore can typically cost four times the price in the United States.