Grab is helping to increase EV adoption and make it commercially viable

Singapore has made its electrification plans very clear, with plans underway to set up 60,000 electric vehicle charging points across the island and the deployment of various government subsidies to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles.

As Singapore seeks to phase out gasoline-powered cars over the next two decades, many companies in the transportation sector have announced plans to jump on the electric vehicle train.

Where does carpooling giant Grab fit in this spectrum and how exactly is it contributing to the national electric vehicle program?

Earlier in July, Grab announced its goal of transport sustainability, committing to operate a full fleet running on cleaner energy by 2030.

The Singapore-based company has also launched a series of initiatives in line with the Singapore 2030 Green Plan, which includes an electric vehicle (EV) roadmap and the goal of running all vehicles with greener energy. ‘by 2040.

Grab’s takes three steps towards greener energy

In an email interview with Vulcan Post, Andrew Chan, general manager of transportation at Grab Singapore, described reducing carbon emissions as the first step for the business.

“We have already invested over US $ 200 million to increase the number of electric and hybrid vehicles in our car rental fleet in Singapore and will continue to do so,” he said.

With this in mind, Grab also launched a JustGrab Green pilot in July 2021, which is served by a fleet of electric or hybrid vehicles with a minimum VES A2 band. Some of the cars include Hyundai Kona Electric, Toyota Prius, and Kia Niro Hybrid.

just grab the green
JustGrab Green – a greener commute option for consumers / Image credit: Grab

This new feature essentially gives passengers the option of adding an additional S $ 0.10 to their fare to contribute to environmentally friendly projects and help reduce the carbon footprint.

He cited that the carbon emissions of a hybrid or electric vehicle can be reduced by about 55% compared to a conventional gasoline vehicle.

According to Andrew, consumer reaction to this has been encouraging so far with a “healthy mix” of existing and new passengers trying out the functionality.

Since its launch, Grab has seen weekly trips with the option to register increase by more than 400%, and the unique number of passengers who have opted for this feature has also increased by almost six times.

“We will continue to explore innovative ways to encourage passengers to consider this carbon offsetting feature when booking a ride. In addition, iterations of the UX and UI of the application will also be performed to improve the visibility of new programs, as well as the ease of joining, ”he added.

The second step Grab is taking is to neutralize carbon emissions with the launch of the Green Program. The entire contribution under this program will go to carbon offset and solarization projects in Singapore and the region.

On the one hand, Grab is working with Sembcorp Industries to support solarization on the roofs of community institutions in Singapore. This collaboration includes the joint identification of solarization projects between the two companies, and Sembcorp will help develop, operate and maintain the solar systems.

Grab is helping to increase EV adoption and make it
Image Credit: Grab

Grab is also working with Shell to purchase carbon credits generated by the Katingan Mentaya project in Indonesia.

The project restores natural forests and preserves peatland habitats, preventing the release of greenhouse gases equivalent to 447 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over 60 years. The project also helps local communities create jobs, improve soil quality and improve food production.

Finally, Grab is stepping up its education and advocacy efforts.

“We are continually looking for different ways to increase awareness among our consumers on topics related to sustainability and the adoption of green programs,” he said.

How Grab Makes the EV Transition Easier for Grab Drivers

Andrew acknowledged that Grab, his driver-partners have raised several concerns about electric vehicles, such as “high costs, a lack of charging points and long wait times for charging.”

They also had initial concerns about range anxiety, although this has since been “quickly subsided as drivers have grown accustomed to using EVs and using breaks and opportunities to recharge quickly”, he added.

He pointed out that since Singapore is a small country, range anxiety is not a big issue. On the contrary, driver-partners are more worried about not being able to find a charging station when they need it, or about the time it takes to charge a vehicle.

As such, Grab has taken a “proactive approach” to informing and educating its driver-partners about the benefits of electric vehicles via in-app notifications.

“A 30-minute charging time is more than enough for a full day of driving (and) when fully charged, the driver can travel about 400 km, which is about 10 full marathons or 10 trips between Jurong West and Changi Airport, “he joked. .

Grab is currently exploring different options for making electric vehicles commercially viable in the long run, such as corporate partnerships and government commitments.

grab hyundai
Image Credit: Pulse News Korea

Grab and Hyundai Motor Group have extended their partnership to accelerate regional adoption of electric vehicles.

They plan to pilot new business models of electric vehicles such as battery-as-a-service and electric vehicle financing, although Andrew declined to share more details on this.

Grab will also develop new pilots and initiatives that will lower barriers to entry for Grab’s drivers and delivery partners to embrace electric vehicles, for example by lowering the total cost of ownership and reducing anxiety. linked to autonomy.

In addition, the two companies will explore collaboration in new business opportunities and technologies such as smart city solutions.

“We have (also) worked closely with various government agencies and the union to share our ideas and offer our support where possible. Grab is aware that the National Electric Vehicle Center (NEVC) will spearhead efforts to increase the adoption of electric vehicles, and we are in discussion with them to help build a robust ecosystem for electric vehicles in Singapore.

Beyond NEVC, Grab also maintains close relationships with various authorities, including the Department of Transport, Land Transport Authority as well as the National Private Hire Vehicles Association, to provide perspective and support where possible.

“The transition to electric vehicles is a team effort and it requires collaboration between key players, including government, charging infrastructure providers, property owners, ridesharing companies and manufacturers of fueling equipment. ‘original (OEM),’ said Andrew.

More can be done to increase adoption of electric vehicles

Electric vehicles are no longer a question of if, but when, and we must be ready to embrace it.

Andrew pointed out that there are a few things that need to be done before Singapore can see an increase in the adoption of electric vehicles.

Beyond expanding the network of electric vehicle charging points, more comprehensive education campaigns, and collaboration with like-minded commercial and public sector as mentioned above, Grab is also improving programs. incentive for its P2P drivers.

For example, partner-drivers who rent an electric vehicle through GrabRentals will benefit from a greatly reduced rental cost.

In addition, Grab’s private rental car drivers can also take advantage of a preferential discount at SP Group electric vehicle charging stations.

Grab is also looking to deploy innovative solutions that can help decouple the cost of the battery from the cost of the vehicle.

Battery as a service is one, but there are other areas to look at as well, such as the “second life” market for car batteries and the market for recycling components used in batteries, noted Andrew.

While there are no concrete plans for Grab to venture into these areas at the moment, it could be a viable business plan going forward as it seeks to strengthen its commitment to electric vehicles at Singapore and throughout the region.

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Featured Image Credit: Grab

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