NUS to test micro electric cars for short distance travel [News]
By Melissa Chong, Channel NewsAsia, 18 Aug 2012.
Some staff and students at National University of Singapore will test a fleet of micro electric cars for a year.
It is part of a research project with Toyota Tsusho (Asia Pacific).
These single seaters are planned for short distances. At a top speed of 50km/h, it has a driving range of about 35km.
And it takes eight hours to be fully charged.
Called the Toyota Auto Body COMS, it is already being used in Japan.
Professor Chua Kee Chaing, head, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, National University of Singapore, said: “This is definitely not a replacement of other cars.
“In a megacity we anticipate that there will be a lot of people needing to transit. With the personal mobility vehicle… you could use it to bring you from your home to the nearest transit system.”
As a test-bed, NUS students and professors will be sharing these vehicles around campus.
If the trial is successful, it might become a new mode of transportation.
Professor Chua said: “This could be used for example in the suburban area… For example, old folks may (find it) very difficult to walk around the estate with long distances.”
For now, the test will focus on assessing its reliability and performance in a tropical climate.
But the challenge is to get authorities here to allow them on the roads.
Professor Chua said: “These are not classified under any category of vehicle, so the first hurdle is to get the authorities to classify these. Once it’s classified, it can go on our roads.”
NUS is also developing an autonomous version of the car as part of their research in Future Transportation Systems.
This means that you can simply enter your location and be picked up by your personal vehicle. Although autonomous vehicles are already in the market, NUS researchers are hoping to develop a cheaper alternative.
Source: Channel NewsAsia