Singapore aims to phase out internal combustion engine vehicles by 2040 in favour of electric vehicles (EVs).
While Singapore remains confident that the adoption rates of EVs will increase with incentives, we must acknowledge that EVs still contribute to environmental pollution, just less.
An EV’s carbon footprint breaks even with an internal combustion engine vehicle’s footprint only after 33,300km – double the annual mileage of an average family car here.
The recycling of EVs is also not as established as that of non-electric vehicles, which have been around for a much longer time.
Other factors come into play in the switch to EVs. It is a challenge to create a robust charging infrastructure in a high-density living space such that every user can get a charging spot on demand. This can lead to range anxiety despite Singapore’s small size.
Singapore’s public transport network has been getting more and more robust, with promises of greater interconnectivity in the Land Transport Master Plan 2040. Plans include a “45-minute city with 20-minute towns”, where one can reach the city centre in 45 minutes during peak hours or get to the nearest neighbourhood centre in 20 minutes.
We need to encourage more Singaporeans to take public transport.
The recently announced fare hike – slated to take place in December – was not well received but is necessary due to decreased ridership.
However, when the pandemic situation stabilises, the Government could provide incentives such as lower fares for frequent riders, or implement cost-cutting measures, such as altering bus routes and frequencies, as the MRT network expands.
Lower fares would likely be the most effective way to increase public transport ridership, especially in the future when the denser network increases access to most places.
While three or four cents might not be much to many – it is the thought that we are paying more that causes dissatisfaction.
When Singaporeans realise that most places are just as accessible by MRT as by cars in the future, more may be supportive of reasonable fare hikes to support upkeep costs.
We should leverage not just EVs, but also develop and promote usage of a sustainable mode of transport: our public transport network.
Together, these can greatly reduce our environmental footprint while increasing convenience in our daily lives.
Alwin Ang Yong Siang