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NTU and TUM launch world’s first electric taxi for the tropics

Zafirah Salim | April 27, 2015
Besides being the world’s first electric taxi built for tropical megacities, it also is the first car ever designed, developed, and manufactured locally.

TUM CREATE - a collaboration between Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Germany's Technische Universität München (TUM) - has built the world's first electric taxi for tropical megacities, making it very fitting for the hot Singapore climate.

Named EVA, this new electric vehicle - which is also the first car ever designed, developed, and manufactured locally - is purposed to function as a taxi, and will provide Singaporeans with a futuristic alternative to the regular fuel-powered taxis.

It is said to be able to travel up to 200 kilometres on a single 15-minute charge, while producing zero local emission. By replacing fuel-burning vehicles with electric-powered ones, carbon emissions as well as local noise and exhaust emissions can be reduced, according to NTU.

Despite its large battery pack, EVA is reportedly 150 kilograms lighter than the average taxi due to its lightweight carbon-fibre composites.

The climate controls, in-car entertainment, booking and digital payment systems are also linked via the infotainment system. This allows passengers to control air-conditioning and audio settings wirelessly from their personal mobile devices.

Professor Lam Khin Yong, NTU's Chief of Staff and Vice President for Research, said that many of EVA's innovations can also be applicable and deployed to other industry sectors in Singapore, such as its energy-efficient air conditioning system and lightweight carbon-fibre composites.

"Due to the hot and humid weather in the tropics, a significant amount of energy is consumed by the air conditioning system in automobiles," said Prof Lam, who is also the Co-Scientific Advisor Director at TUM CREATE. "The innovative energy efficient air conditioning solutions deployed in EVA, like its new energy-efficient compressor technologies, can be adopted in both current and future vehicles to reduce their carbon footprint."

"In addition, NTU's key research projects at the Energy Research Institute such as our inductive wireless charging technology, a good alternative to the current plug-in conductive charging, are also successfully installed in EVA," he added.

In fact, many of the technologies researched and used in building EVA, such as its customised fast-charging battery system, have yielded innovations beneficial to the automotive industry. Professor Maria-Elisabeth Michel-Beyerle, CEO of TUM CREATE, said that they are now in the midst of discussions with some companies to commercialise their innovations.

In the meantime, it will look at testing the car further on the NTU campus. NTU's complete eco-system of public and private transportation, including public and shuttle buses, private cars, bicycles and prototype autonomous vehicles makes it the ideal living test-bed, she added.  

Over the next four years, NTU will also turn into a national test-bed for smart mobility solutions, such as Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) technology, which looks at equipping cars with devices that can talk to traffic infrastructure and other cars.


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