Singapore excels in commerce and finance. The ‘technology-ready’ nation has more to offer though, especially that the island city-state is giving importance to its transportation hubs.
Locals, even with their personal cars, rely heavily on public transportation such as trains, taxis, and double-decker buses. That is why a lot of people became really excited when two technology-driven companies worked hand in hand to launch a new and innovative type of transportation in Singapore.
The Nanyang Technological University Singapore (NTU), an autonomous research university, has worked with BlueSG Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of Blue Solutions owned by the Bollore Group, in order to present the very first flash-charging electric shuttle in the world known as the Bluetram.
Bollore Group, a transportation company in the UK, manufactured Bluetram. The futuristic shuttle was first tested in the streets of Paris in December 2015. Bluetram does not require the use of power lines and rails to move. It is installed with a supercapacitor that can store power and be able to travel for two kilometers.
The 22-seater shuttle has the capability to be fully charged in just 20 seconds. Bluetram can restore power at special stations that are very much tailored for its fast charging. The new shuttle also has a backup power that allows it to run another 30 kilometers. Another thing about the futuristic shuttle is that it can recharge while passengers are on board.
According to Marie Bollore, Managing Director of Blue Solutions, “We are very proud of our partnership with NTU, one of the most prestigious scientific institutions in the world. The launch of this very first Bluetram in Singapore, for the students and professors of NTU, further validates the technology and expertise of the Group in the field of electric battery.”
The Singapore version of the Bluetram is called NTU-Blue Solutions Flash Shuttle. It was officially launched on February 12, 2018, an event graced by important people like Professor Lam Khin Yong, the Vice President of Nanyang Technological University Singapore; Franck Vitte, the Managing Director of BlueSG; Frederique Vidal, the French Minister of Higher Education, Research, and Innovation.
In order for the new shuttle to be used as a public transportation in Singapore, it needs to pass a 2-year trial basis. The test runs will take place at the campus of NTU, meaning students of the university will get the chance to ride the shuttle starting in the second half of this year. The said trial is going to be supported by the Economic Development Board, Singapore.
Professor Subra Suresh, the President of NTU, has plans to introduce NTU as a Smart Campus.
He mentioned that “As a leading global university with deep expertise in sustainable technologies, the NTU Smart Campus is already a living testbed for various sustainable and energy-efficient technologies, and the perfect partner for BlueSG to test and develop electric shuttles for Singapore. We expect that the insights and innovations developed from this partnership will ultimately benefit Singapore and the world by enhancing the first-mile and last-mile transportation options.”
The autonomous research university is now hoping that the test runs of the NTU-Blue Solutions Flash Shuttle will be successful.
Electric buses (EB) are becoming really popular all around the globe and it is creating a positive bold impact on different communities. The transportation industry is on the right track for introducing such innovative vehicles.
Continuous demand for EBs has also risen. From 386,000 last year, the total number of electric buses in service will balloon to about 1.2 million in the year 2025. That figure is 47% of the worldwide city bus fleet.
Singapore is living up to the expectation of being a technology-ready country. The launch of the electric transportation vehicle is just a step closer towards greater opportunities in the future.