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Electrifying Singapore with the Mini-E

By Blogger on 01 Apr 2010

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Like it or not, cars will be greener (read: no more V8 growls). Even if there is some sort of speaker to replicate the "sound", it will never come close to the real thing.

However, in our local context, owning a car with a V8 engine is reserved for about 2% of the population who are rich enough. Most of us would rather not hear our engines at all, not when it sound like moo-ing cows.

Which means, Singapore, given it's tiny area, lack of space to stretch ANY engine and ridiculous tax rules, is an ideal location for electric cars.

Although still largely impractical for families, the 2 seater Mini-E is still one of the more practical zero-emission car out there. Retaining the hippy looks of it's petrol-driven cousin, the Mini Cooper, the E looks pretty darn good too. (Anyway, the current Mini Cooper can hardly seat more than 2)

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If NEA meant anything they said about going green, perhaps investing in charging stations is a good proper step ahead.

Start with the many multi-storey carparks here. Given the compact size of the Mini-E's charging wall panel, space should not be a problem. I'm no electrician or engineer, but I do think that it is not entirely difficult to hook up these wall panels to the mains.

A typical charging panel
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Next, following the example set by the new City Square mall, setup charging stations in carparks of Malls, Office Buildings etc.

Combine all these ideal factors with the low mileage that Singaporeans travel from point to point, and driving an electric vehicle might not sound very far-fetched.

To this extent, the Mini-E is probably ideal, other than the lack of engine noise, it handles and drives like any other Mini out there. With 220nm of torque available the instant u step on the accelerator, and a top speed of around 152km/h, it will leave most cars biting the dust too.

The stated 167 kilometers range on a single charge is also more than adequate for anyone living in Singapore. From point to point, if you travel from Changi to Tuas, it would at most use up 1/2 of the battery's capacity.

However, this is only an ideal scenario. With space for only the driver and a passenger, only those who are single, attached or married without children might consider the Mini-E. I am not doubting the government's willingness to setup charging stations. Than there is the problem of getting people to adopt a petrol-free driving lifestyle, such as having to plug in everytime you park (which would not take more than 2 minutes??).

Limited space, although there is still a 60L boot!
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Also, for the zero emissions dream to be realised, a standard charging format should also be fixed upon.

The most difficult hurdle to cross right now? Cost and size of the batteries. It will sky rocket the price of the car. Than again, if the government is willing to give electric car owners a tax break, it might not cost much different from your regular Mini (applicable only to Singapore).

Quite honestly, the weird weather patterns has gotten the better of me and this post came as a result of that. Let's not just sit and talk about it, it is time to start doing something.

Mini, Electric, Cooper, Mini-E and 3 more...

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