1. Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time. Back
2. Sir, Singapore aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. To attain this national target, we must significantly decarbonise the land transport sector, which accounts for about 15% of emissions.
3. The electrification of our vehicle population is key to this effort. The carbon emissions of an electric car are about half of an internal combustion engine car, and this will improve as technology advances and more renewable sources enter our energy mix.
4. Our vision is for all vehicles in Singapore to run on cleaner energy by 2040. Based on current trends, many of these, and in fact a significant proportion will be electric vehicles, or EVs. This year, more than 10% of new light vehicle registrations were EVs, up from 0.3% in 2020. That is a 30-fold increase. The adoption has been broad-based, with half of all EVs registered to condominium and HDB residents.
5. To further encourage the EV transition, we need an island-wide public charging network that is safe, reliable and accessible. We aim to deploy 60,000 charging points across Singapore by 2030. Today, we have over 3,600 charging points, which is more than double the number two years ago. LTA recently awarded a tender to deploy an additional 12,000 charging points across all HDB carparks. This means our charger network is going to increase significantly by the middle of this decade.
6. As we ramp up the EV charging infrastructure, we must also strengthen the governing regulatory framework. Last year, Parliament amended the Land Transport Authority of Singapore Act, to assign to LTA the statutory function of promoting and regulating the safe use of EVs in Singapore
7. The proposed Electric Vehicles Charging Bill aims to confer LTA with new statutory powers to administer and enforce a comprehensive regulatory regime.
Scope and Objectives of Bill
8. Mr Speaker Sir, let me now turn to the main provisions of the Bill.
9. This Bill serves three main objectives.
a. The first is to ensure that EV chargers are safe, and safely used. Hence, the Bill proposes to regulate the supply, advertisement, installation, registration, maintenance, and use of EV chargers, both portable and fixed, including battery charge and swap stations, and pantograph chargers.
b. Second, to ensure the reliability of the EV charging network and services, through a licensing regime for EV charging operators.
c. Third, to promote the accessibility of the EV charging network, by mandating a minimum provision of charging points at certain developments, and by lowering the resolution threshold for EV charger installation at strata-titled developments.
10. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Transport and LTA conducted a public consultation exercise on the Bill. More than 70 members of the public and industry players responded and were generally supportive of the provisions that have been proposed.
a. Industry respondents recognised the need for a licensing regime for EV charging operators so as to maintain standards, but requested that compliance costs be kept low. My Ministry and LTA will work with the industry to ensure this even as we design an effective licensing regime.
b. Many also supported the proposed charging provision mandate, and some have even asked for the mandate to be expanded to cover all developments. I will address this later.
Regulating the Safe Use of EV Chargers
11. Mr Speaker Sir, let me now elaborate on how the Bill will help to achieve the three objectives of safety, reliability, and accessibility.
12. First, on regulating for the safe use of EV chargers. Today, while the Energy Market Authority regulates the installation of EV chargers by Licensed Electrical Workers, the activities of others like charger manufacturers, charger suppliers, charger owners and users, are not.
13. Given the potential fire and other safety hazards, the Bill proposes regulation to cover the entire use cycle of EV chargers, and to consolidate the regulatory oversight under the Land Transport Authority.
Supply of EV chargers
14. Clause 6 of the Bill specifies that all chargers supplied in Singapore must belong to a homologated model that meets the national charging standard, which is Technical Reference 25 (or TR25), and it was revised earlier this year. The supply of a non-homologated model is an offence with the penalty for individuals of a maximum fine of $20,000 or a maximum jail term of 24 months, or both; while a corporate entity faces a maximum fine of $40,000.
15. Clause 15 of the Bill prohibits the advertisement of non-approved EV charger models, including online or digital advertising. The Bill empowers LTA to direct to the advertiser to stop further publication of the advertisement, disable access to the offending advertisement, or publish a corrective advertisement.
16. As new and emerging charging solutions may not comply with TR25, Part 4 of the Bill allows LTA to administer a special authorisation regime for such chargers to be trialled under controlled conditions, until they are eventually incorporated into our main standards.
Registration of EV chargers
17. To ensure accountability for the proper use and maintenance of EV chargers, Clause 22 allows LTA to maintain a national Register of EV Chargers. The person in charge and control of an EV charger, which is typically the owner, must register the charger with LTA, and will be the registered responsible person required to ensure that it is properly maintained and periodically inspected by a qualified person.
Installation and use of EV chargers
18. To ensure safe installation, the Bill and accompanying subsidiary legislation will require chargers to be certified as fit for charging electric vehicles by qualified persons, which includes Licensed Electrical Workers and charging equipment specialists; the installation of fixed chargers must also be overseen by Licensed Electrical Workers.
19. In addition, the Bill also has safeguards against unsafe charging. For example, EV chargers capable of charging detachable EV batteries will not be allowed in residences, because of the risk of battery fires. Also, a manufacturer or supplier who knows of a safety defect in the charger or charger model it has supplied, must inform persons with charge and control of such chargers on how to rectify the defect, and subsequently report to LTA upon the completion of rectification work.
Ensuring Reliable EV Charging Services
Licensing of EV charging services
20. Mr Speaker Sir, Part 6 of the Bill introduces a licensing regime for EV charging service providers or charging station operators to ensure the reliability of the EV charging network and services.
21. The services provided by such EV charging operators will include:
a. hiring of fixed EV chargers;
b. EV battery swapping; and
c. renting of portable EV chargers.
22. EV charging operators must obtain a licence, which will be valid for 3 years and renewable. Licensing conditions will include the purchase of public liability insurance, and correcting EV charging service downtime issues within a specified duration.
Flexibility in scope of licensing regime
23. For a start, the licensing regime will only cover EV charging operators that provide charging services to the public given the focus on commercial EV charging operators. This coverage can be expanded in accordance with future needs.
24. The Bill also allows for step-in arrangements in respect of a designated licensee.
25. Under Clause 56, the Minister may by order in the Gazette, prescribe a licensee that is authorised to provide EV charging services as a designated licensee. For example, this may be a licensee with a large scale of operations in Singapore. If the licence of a designated licensee is revoked or surrendered, the Minister for Transport may, on the advice of LTA, invoke clause 57 of the Bill to authorise a step-in operator to take over the designated licensee’s operations temporarily, for no more than twelve months. This will minimise disruption and facilitate a smoother transition for affected EV users. The intent is for these provisions to be invoked where no short-term commercial arrangement or remedies are available, and it will be used as a last resort.
Promoting Accessibility of the EV Charging Network
Mandatory provision of EV charging points
26. The third objective of this Bill is to promote the accessibility of the EV charging network. With more vehicles going electric, all carparks in Singapore will need to provide for EV charging.
27. Therefore, Part 8 of the Bill mandates the provision of EV charging infrastructure by developers of specified building works and development owners who carry out certain types of electrical works. These are typically new developments or those undergoing substantial renovation.
28. The mandate, which will be prescribed in subsidiary legislation, consists of two parts. First, developers must install electrical infrastructure that supports at least 1.3 kilo-volt amperes of power for every car and motorcycle parking lot in the development. Second, developers must install a minimum number of charging points which would draw at least one-fifth of that amount of power.
29. To illustrate, a development that is in compliance will be able to support 7.4 kilowatt (kW) charging points with smart charging capability at about 1 in 5 lots. In terms of the actual installation of chargers, the developer can comply with the mandate by fitting out about 1 in 25 lots with such 7.4kW charging points. If I may put it in simple terms, what it means is that one part of the requirement is for electrical capacity that is to be provided. The technical people have used a specific metric applied to the number of parking lots to establish that cap. The second part of that mandate is on the number of lots. So, while you can have up to 1 in 5 of the lots with these chargers, the mandate is really, if you go by slow charging rates, it will amount to about 1 in 25, or 4% - 5% of the lots.
30. The mandate is designed to provide the flexibility to deploy a mix of charging points with different power ratings at more or fewer lots, depending on the needs of users. For instance, some developers may opt to have more charging lots installed with lower-powered chargers, while others may have fewer lots installed with higher-powered chargers. So, there is a trade off because for a given electrical capacity, if you choose to have more high-powered chargers, then you will have fewer charging stations and vice versa.
Lowering resolution thresholds for EV charger installation
31. Over the past two years, we have received feedback on the challenges faced by strata-titled developments like condominiums in installing EV charging points. Proposals to install EV charging points may be defeated despite having the majority support of subsidiary proprietors. This is because under the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act 2004, proposals to lease the common property to EV charging operators to install EV chargers could be required to meet a resolution threshold of up to 90%, depending on the duration of the lease.
32. Hence, in consultation with the Ministry of National Development and the Building and Construction Authority, we propose related amendments to the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act so that proposals to install or uninstall EV chargers in strata-titled developments will only require an ordinary resolution, which can be passed with the support of a simple majority of the subsidiary proprietors voting in a general meeting. Such a proposal must not draw down on the funds of the Management Corporation, and the relevant lease or licence between the Management Corporation and the EV charging operator that enables such a proposal must not last for more than 10 years. So there is a safeguard around the draw of funds, and a safeguard around the duration of the contract.
33. Mr Speaker, to conclude, as EV charging and related technology evolve, we will need to adapt our laws and regulations to ensure they are fit for purpose. This Electric Vehicles Charging Bill is an important foundation and first step. It is a milestone in Singapore’s quest for a sustainable land transport system, and in our journey towards net zero emissions by 2050. I commend it to all members to give it their full support.
34. Mr Speaker, I beg to move.