As Singapore transitions towards carbon neutrality, the government has been actively trying to get road users to transition towards electric vehicles (EVs). These vehicles run on cleaner energy, and many companies have been eager to aid Singapore in this transition.
While companies like Tesla, BMW, Chevrolet, Nissan and other automobile companies actively research, develop, and produce better EVs, there are also other companies that are helping Singapore’s transition towards electrification in other ways.
For Schneider Electric — a global specialist in energy management and automation that came to Singapore in 1973 — it strongly feels that the transition towards EV adoption can be greatly helped by improving Singapore’s EV infrastructure.
Why is EV infrastructure so important?
While it certainly is true that the quality of EVs themselves do matter, EV quality is not the be-all and end-all of EV transition. Other factors do play a part as well, and EV infrastructure is among them.
The government has recognised this fact, and has been implementing measures to ensure that EV infrastructure does not fall behind EV adoption.
As part of the Singapore Green Plan 2030, new residential areas will have EV charging stations, while rebates and incentives are being offered to private developers to install EV chargers within their estates.
Adrian Duque, Asia Pacific Business Development Manager – eMobility at Schneider Electric, notes that the electrification of transportation is critical in the journey to decarbonisation.
Purchasing the EVs is an easy first step, while building and scaling up charging infrastructure is often cited as the biggest challenge faced by EV fleet operators.
Moreover, the EV ecosystem is “complex and fragmented”. It is made up of multiple players including utility companies, fleet operators, government regulators, infrastructure providers and car manufacturers.
As such, Schneider’s focus is on accommodating larger numbers of EVs on the roads, and enabling anyone who wants to own an EV to have seamless access to charging stations.
As more consumers shift from an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicle to EV, it is crucial for both the public and private sectors to provide supporting battery charging infrastructure. We will begin to see a shift in car owners’ behavioural patterns – EV car owners will charge when the car is in stop mode. Where do people stop? At homes, at work, at commercial and industrial places are rest places. These are where charging will likely take place, so it is critical that the charging infrastructure is built in these areas. This behaviour is very different to the traditional way of going to gas stations to fill up an ICE vehicle. – Adrian Duque, Asia Pacific Business Development Manager – eMobility at Schneider Electric
What is Schneider bringing to the table?
Schneider began its history in 1836 as a steel and machinery company, before eventually pivoting into the electricity market in 1891.
It eventually completely withdrew from the steel industry to focus on electricity in the 1980s and 1990s. Since then, they have acquired and developed their own technology, with a focus on smart grids, building automation, and now, EV infrastructure.
For starters, Schneider is taking the first step towards improving EV infrastructure in Singapore by offering what might be considered the ‘bread and butter’ of any EV infrastructure system: EV chargers (both AC chargers and DC fast chargers).
While EV infrastructure may simply mean EV chargers and charging stations to some, Schneider goes a step further and offers what they term as “end-to-end eMobility solutions”. These include the power distribution equipment needed to power EV chargers, software integrations for EV chargers, load management systems and more.
We believe that digital technologies are key to integrating the whole eMobility ecosystem. This goes beyond charging stations and includes smart interconnection with the grid, the buildings, the infrastructure, the drivers and the renewable energy sources and microgrids to secure power availability and cost efficiencies. – Adrian Duque, Asia Pacific Business Development Manager – eMobility at Schneider Electric
For example, Schneider produces the Schneider EVlink Wallbox — a charger that can be used for charging at home, on the street, and at workplaces. While the Wallbox itself looks ordinary, its settings can be changed by users to allow for different power output levels.
This enables owners to control how much and how fast they want to charge their EVs, and take better care of their vehicles whilst reducing electricity usage.
Essentially, Schneider takes a holistic approach when it comes to Singapore’s transition to cleaner transportation. Instead of simply pushing for EVs, Schneider aims to ensure that EV users can actually make proper use of their EVs, and anyone who needs to manage charging points and charging stations are equipped with what they need to oversee EV charging.
Using analytics and edge control, a smart infrastructure can facilitate communication between grid, buildings, city and drivers, enabling the intelligent consumption of energy, reducing power congestion, increasing resiliency, and improving cost efficiency.An intelligent charging station equipped with analytic platforms can prevent consumers from hogging a charging lot. Load Management for Smart Charging & Optimisation of energy usage must be taken into consideration so that more charging points can be managed where there is limited power source in an existing building. – Adrian Duque, Asia Pacific Business Development Manager – eMobility at Schneider Electric
Moving towards a carbon neutral future
As EVs improve, Schneider has been stepping up their own initiatives as well — they have collaborated with Nanyang Polytechnic to showcase the potential of green technologies in the workplace, and are training students via workshops to manage energy consumption for EV charging. Lest we think that they are done, they are also working on improvements to their own offerings and technology. Currently, Schneider is looking at creating new AC chargers for residential, commercial, and industrial applications, as well as new DC chargers for high-power charging. They are also working on new software to manage EV charging infrastructure and user management. “Over the next decade, our energy and transportation systems will be reshaped towards a greener net-zero future. At Schneider Electric, we are continuously exploring innovative solutions to create an efficient, resilient, sustainable, and future-ready EV ecosystem,” said Duque.