All charged up but nowhere to go
THINK sleek electric cars and the American Tesla models come to mind.
But there are people here slaving over a made-in-Singapore electric vehicle (EV) too.
The EVA, Singapore's first electric car which was designed to be a taxi, took four years of toil and innovation to create.
When the prototype was launched last year, talks to commercialise the vehicle began.
It is a dream come true for Singaporean researcher Raymond Khoo, 30, who describes the EVA as his proudest achievement. He remembers when it existed only as a concept on paper in 2012.
The mechanical engineering masters graduate says: "With no automobile courses in Singapore, creating the EVA has been very difficult.
"I had to read books outside of my field and teach myself about automotive design online.
"It is simply the biggest project that I've ever worked on.
"This is our flagship product."
There is growing global interest in EVs and an expanding market led by companies like Tesla and BMW. In Singapore, a local electric car manufacturer is currently pumping in millions to create an EV, but not for the local market.
For all the hard work Mr Khoo and his team of 120 researchers put into EVA, there are still no takers - taxi companies, car manufacturers or budding entrepreneurs with the means - to put it into mass production.
This despite Singapore being touted by transport experts as the "perfect test bed" for EVs due to its small size and tech-savvy people.
Today, the EVA sits idle in the TUM Create's Automotive Lab at the National University of Singapore's University Town.
TUM Create is a research platform between Nanyang Technological University and Germany's Technische Universitat Munchen, and is funded by the National Research Foundation Singapore.
Occasionally, Mr Khoo will show interested visitors or researchers the EVA and demonstrate its capabilities as an electric taxi. It is designed and built in Singapore and meant for the local market.
The EVA is by no means a failed project for its creators - it is still a platform for further research and development work.
THE NEW PAPER