Electric cars in Singapore: The future is now
Cars like the Hyundai Kona Electric give drivers the chance to make a clean break with old-fashioned fossil fuels. Read more at straitstimes.com.
Remember the last time you used a kerosene lamp? Maybe not, but you could ask your grandparents about them. They might fondly remember the warm glow of the flickering light, but leave out the part about needed constant top ups. There’s no going back from the bright, clean electric lighting of today. Likewise, if the car was only invented today, it would almost certainly run on electricity. Think about it for a second. Electricity itself is clean, silent, responsive, reliable and cost-effective, so it makes sense that electric vehicles (EVs) are, too. Cars like the Hyundai Kona Electric not only exemplify this superior tech, but also demonstrate how responsible carmakers are helping to make EVs a reality for any motorist today. In fact, Hyundai’s decision to produce the Kona Electric shows that EVs are now for mainstream drivers, and not luxury car buyers. State-of-the-art The Kona Electric’s futuristic styling reflects the state-of-the-art engineering that went into it. A smooth panel in place of a traditional front grille hints at the compact motor behind it, letting bystanders know that there’s no combustion engine under the bonnet. Motors need batteries, and the Kona Electric’s are neatly packaged under the car’s floor so it takes up little room. An added plus is that they lower the car’s centre of gravity, which makes it highly stable through corners. In fact, driving the Kona Electric reveals just how engaging and exciting the EV era is. Step on the accelerator and it responds instantly — there’s no engine to rev up and no transmission to change gears, so there’s no waiting. EVs are all about power on-demand! Despite the engaging performance, the Kona Electric is quieter than most combustion-engine luxury cars. That’s because electrons are silent and exploding fuel is not. In fact, experiencing the Kona Electric’s performance must be what it was like for our ancestors, when they went from noisy, dirty steam or diesel locomotives to electric trains for the first time. Yet, efficiency comes in many forms, and the Kona Electric’s superior packaging means it is surprisingly spacious for a compact sport utility vehicle (SUV). There is plenty of room for the needs of a family living in the city, with a generous boot size of 332 litres — expandable to 1,143 litres by folding the rear seats, more than enough for an active lifestyle. Outside, the Kona Electric’s dimensions make it ultra-manoeuvrable and supremely easy to park — so much the better for exploiting its zippy performance and agile handling. Clean, cost-effective and convenient Given how fun it is to drive, it’s almost easy to forget how environmentally friendly the Kona Electric is. It is also as clean as any car can get: There is no tailpipe, so there are no tailpipe emissions to choke the immediate surroundings. City life would be so much more pleasant if every car around you is as clean and quiet as this EV. Even if you factor in the energy needed to generate the power for a Kona Electric, it emits less than 56g of carbon dioxide per km. A comparable car that runs on petrol would belch out two to three times as much in its emission. The Kona Electric also shows that efficiency and cost-effectiveness usually go hand-in-hand. A full charge for its battery costs as little as under S$10, while refuelling a comparable 1.6-litre car would easily cost around S$80. That’s not all; an electric powertrain has far fewer moving parts and is much cheaper to service and maintain — no filters to change, no spark plugs to renew, no gaskets to replace, and no belts to worry about. In fact, the overall maintenance cost is less than S$200 a year for the Kona Electric. Keeping an EV topped-up is set to become just as hassle-free as maintaining it, even in Singapore. The EV charging network in Singapore is on the way to becoming comprehensively widespread, with many major players setting up public charging points. Electrical grid operator SP Group will have 1,000 charging points around the island by the end of this year. In fact, it already has more than 200 up and running, more than 50 of which are fast chargers that can top up an EV in around 30 minutes. Even traditional energy companies recognise that EVs are a practical reality. Shell is adding 50kW fast chargers to its station network in Singapore, with 10 already in operation. Soon, it could become more uncommon to find a place without an EV charger in Singapore, than to encounter a place with one. The term “plug-and-play” is fast becoming a reality for EVs in Singapore. Going the distance Even as charging points spread rapidly around the island, the EV driver doesn’t need one every day. The Kona Electric’s ability to cover up to 482km on a single charge means the average driver here wouldn’t even need to charge it once a week, with figures from the Land Transport Authority showing that the typical car covers less than 290km in that time. An EV is more like a mobile phone than a fossil-fuel car; you simply charge whenever it’s convenient. As with your phone, it soon becomes a habit to charge regularly once you get over the ritual of refuelling intermittently. When it comes to cars, future generations will probably wonder how we ever put up with the inconvenience of refuelling. No wonder the vast majority of people who switch to EVs say they would never go back: In other countries where the technology has taken off, surveys show that nine-out-of-10 EV drivers say they would never go back to fossil fuel. The good news is, that attractive world of clean, efficient and cost-effective motoring is now available to all motorists. With models like the Kona Electric and Ioniq Electric, Hyundai has unlocked the electric era and brought it into the mainstream today. EVs like the Kona Electric might feel like futuristic cars, but they are already in the here and now. Visit www.hyundai.com/sg/model/kona-electric for more information. Read more: The Straits Times
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