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Public EV charging likely to get costlier for drivers as new rules drive up costs, say operators


Song Boh? By time whole island installed with these ranjiao chargers, the price is is likely to be close to petrol but take so much longer to charge become LPPL, in fact will be worse off as EVs are much more expensive, LOL.


Public EV charging likely to get costlier for drivers as new rules drive up costs, say operators​


By end-2024, companies providing public charging services must allow users to pay by credit card. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE – The new registration and licensing regime for electric vehicle (EV) charging will drive up costs for commercial charging service providers, some of whom told The Straits Times that consumers will eventually have to shoulder at least a portion of these increases.

Under the EV Charging Act, which took effect on Dec 8, new chargers must be registered with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) at a fee before they can be used. In addition, commercial charging service operators have to pay to be licensed by Dec 7, 2024.

By end-2024, companies providing public charging services must also allow users to pay by credit card or by scanning a QR code, instead of only via the firms’ smartphone apps or charge cards.

Mr Goh Chee Kiong, chief executive of Charge+, an operator with more than 1,000 charging points in public carparks as well as commercial and residential projects, said: “The rules will bring up the cost of business, and it is likely to affect how much consumers pay for the service. But the magnitude of the impact will be something operators will have to work out.”

With the requirement to widen payment methods, Charge+ will allow users to pay via their credit cards using a Web portal, in addition to its app.

Mr Elson Toh, executive director of operator EVOne, said meeting the various requirements will come at a significant cost to his business. The operator has 13 high-speed chargers at 12 industrial locations and one at d’Arena Club in Upper Jurong Road. He said: “Costs like those for installing point-of-sales devices to handle direct payment and the additional administration work will eventually be passed on to the EV owner.”

On Dec 7, LTA said the cost for a large EV charging operator to register 500 chargers with various power ratings will come to nearly $100,000. This includes fees of $16,500 for the licensing application and a three-year licence.

But it excludes other costs needed to comply with the rules, such as maintaining the chargers to ensure they are operational.

Before the new law came into effect, charging operators did not require a licence to operate and there was no requirement for registration or registration fees.

TotalEnergies, which operates 1,500 charging points in public and private carparks, said it already complies with the majority of the requirements.

For example, it is already possible to pay for the company’s charging service at its 780 public charging points with a credit card on its website as an alternative to using its app.

Hence, the company does not expect extra spending other than for the new registration and licensing fees.

Until June 7, 2024, registration fees for existing chargers will be waived. But new chargers must be registered at a fee ranging from $150 for a slow charger (below 23 kilowatts) in a publicly accessible area to $750 for an ultra-high-speed charger (above 150kW) in a landed property such as a bungalow or terraced house.

SP Group told ST it is working on a solution so that users can pay by credit card at its charging stations.

Mr Dean Cher, head of mobility at SP Group, said the size of its network – with 1,000 charging points – makes it more challenging to meet this requirement. He added: “These costs (for registering chargers and getting the operating licence) have not been factored into our financial assumptions. We will be reviewing their impact on charging tariffs.”

EV user and watch distributor Leslie Chang said he had always wished he could pay for charging across Singapore with a single app, instead of having to use apps from various operators.

In 2018, Mr Chang installed a charger at a carpark outside his office at leasehold commercial building One Commonwealth. Yet he still has three charging apps, which he occasionally uses when he drives his Hyundai Ioniq 5 electric car.

While he does not intend to uninstall the apps, Mr Chang, 60, said allowing users to pay by credit card will make it more convenient to use an EV. “This development will definitely encourage more people to use an EV.”

Mr William Fletcher, 56, vice-president for sales at a commercial kitchen, said he will also keep the charging operators’ apps on his phone out of habit. The owner of a Tesla Model Y wishes, though, that the charging experience could be improved on the whole islandwide.

With the Tesla Supercharger that is exclusive to cars from the American EV brand, charging starts automatically when a car, which has the owner’s credit card details, is plugged in. There is no need for the driver to take extra steps.

Voltality, which has experience installing payment systems for chargers, said it has worked with some charging operators to allow payment either by tapping a credit card on a standalone terminal or online through a webpage.

Its chief executive Kristoffer Jacek Soh said the company’s solution works on chargers without the need for modifications.

The registration fee for chargers will also apply to those meant for private use, such as in landed homes. Many new EVs are sold with a home charger installation. These are typically slow chargers, which will cost $375 to register.

Mr Chong Kah Wei, managing director for Mazda and McLaren at the Eurokars Group, said that when a charger is included in a car purchase, this would include registration fees. “We do not want to make it troublesome for the buyer, to ask for additional fees,” he said.

Other dealerships for brands such as BMW, Hyundai and Polestar said they are still contemplating whether to absorb registration costs.

Associate Professor Walter Theseira, head of the urban transportation programme at the Singapore University of Social Sciences, believes the new rules will not make a big difference in the growth of the charging network or the speed of EV adoption.

“The main problem is utilisation. For public operators, they are worried about utilisation, and the economics don’t work until there are more EVs. For private EV charger owners, they already know the cost savings from not paying commercial rates outside are huge,” he added.
At present, the cost of using commercial chargers ranges from 53 cents to 64.8 cents per kilowatt hour, depending on the operator and charging speed. Private EV charging costs less than 30 cents per kWh, or the price of the electricity tariff.