AsianScientist (Feb. 5, 2018) – Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and BlueSG Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of Blue Solutions owned by the French transportation company Bolloré Group, have launched Singapore’s first flash-charging electric shuttle. The shuttle was launched by NTU’s Vice President (Research) Professor Lam Khin Yong and BlueSG’s Managing Director Mr Franck Vitté, and witnessed by the French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Ms. Frédérique Vidal.
Named the NTU-Blue Solutions Flash Shuttle, the fully electric vehicle only requires 20 seconds to recharge at stations which are fitted for its quick charging. This means that a full recharge can happen while passengers board and alight. Unlike other electric vehicles that function solely on batteries, the Bluetram replicates the efficiency of trams by operating continuously without the need for offline charging.
Equipped with supercapacitors and a special battery developed by Blue Solutions, the shuttle can travel two kilometers on a single charge, with backup power that provides for an additional 30 kilometers. Furthermore, the costs of operating Bluetram is five to ten times lower than tram systems as it does not require costly infrastructure such as rails or catenary, and a whole line can be deployed in a matter of weeks.
With a capacity of 22 passengers, the shuttle will ply the roads between NTU’s Halls of Residence at North Hill and JTC’s CleanTech One, which is part of the Jurong Innovation District, where special charging stations have been built. A joint research team comprising scientists from NTU’s Energy Research Institute (ERIAN) and BlueSG will study the actual on-road performance of the Bluetram in Singapore’s tropical climate, including the user behavior of passengers.
“NTU has a strong culture of translational research, especially in the areas of electromobility and sustainability. Having worked with leading industry players such as Volvo and BMW Group in similar areas, we look forward to working closely with Bolloré to testbed the new electric shuttle at NTU, under Singapore’s climate and traffic conditions,” said NTU’s Lam, adding that partnerships with leading industry players is crucial to translate research into real-life applications.
NTU President Professor Subra Suresh noted that the move to introduce electromobility and cutting-edge transportation technologies is part of his vision to transform NTU into a Smart Campus.
“As a leading global university with deep expertise in sustainable technologies, the NTU Smart Campus is already a living testbed for various sustainable and energy-efficient technologies, and the perfect partner for BlueSG to test and develop electric shuttles for Singapore. We expect that the insights and innovations developed from this partnership will ultimately benefit Singapore and the world by enhancing the first-mile and last-mile transportation options,” said Suresh.
This research partnership with BlueSG will run for two years and is supported by the Economic Development Board, Singapore. As part of the trials, NTU students will be able to ride the shuttle in the second half of 2018.
Source: Nanyang Technological University; Photo: Shutterstock.
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