Newshub - NUS' News Portal
19 July 2012
Fleet of 10 Toyota Auto Body COMS will ply NUS Kent Ridge Campus and University Town
The National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Engineering and Toyota Tsusho Asia Pacific Pte Ltd (TTAP) today commenced on a one-year joint study on micro electric vehicles (EVs) using the NUS Kent Ridge campus and the NUS University Town (UTown) as a test bed. The study will provide valuable insights into the viability of deploying and expanding personal mobility vehicles such as Toyota Auto Body COMS for short distance travel in Singapore. NUS and TTAP will deploy a fleet of 10 Toyota Auto Body COMS, which are single-seater micro EVs for this study.
The Toyota Auto Body COMS, Japanese acronym for "Chotto Odekake Machimade Suisui" which means "smooth, short rides into town", provide a driving range of between 35km to 45km via the use of sealed lead-acid batteries. Each Toyota Auto Body COMS, which weighs about 300kg and takes eight hours to be fully charged, can travel at an electronically limited top speed of 50km/h. Other green features include low cost to run (S$0.03/km), zero carbon dioxide emissions, parts recyclability of 93 per cent, and regenerative braking.
The NUS Kent Ridge campus and UTown will serve as a microcosm of a self-contained township for the study, which will be carried out in three phases. For the initial phase, researchers will gather data and feedback from some 30 NUS staff who will test drive the Toyota Auto Body COMS round the Kent Ridge campus and UTown. The findings will help to develop a fully integrated, eco-friendly mobility system that enables efficient management of EVs and a self-service EV rental scheme for staff and students to commute from point to point on campus. About 160 NUS staff and students are expected to be involved in the year-long study.
The study will look into the following areas:
- Robustness, performance, cost-effectiveness and environmental impact of EVs in Singapore/tropical climatic conditions for short distance travelling;
- Users' behavior and travelling pattern to optimise micro-EVs distribution with the NUS campus;
- Users' charging behavior so as to determine efficient locations to place charging stations; and
- Systems and procedures which would need to be put in place for future larger scale implementations.
The micro EVs and the users will be wirelessly linked to a telematics hub which will collect data for analysis and management purposes. The telematics hub, developed by TTAP and a local partner, acts as a systems integrator that coordinates the collection of data from various systems for processing and subsequently generates information that is relevant to specific user groups.
Professor Chua Kee Chaing, Head of NUS' Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, said: "We are excited to embark on our maiden study on personalised mobility on campus in partnership with TTAP. With the growing popularity of EVs in the global market, this is a timely collaboration to involve our staff and students in the testing and deployment of EV technology on campus."
"Various research teams at NUS Faculty of Engineering have been carrying out a broad spectrum of projects to address future transportation needs, ranging from sustainable transportation planning and traffic estimation and prediction to intelligent traffic control and power management systems for EVs. This latest collaboration adds a new dimension in our work, giving NUS researchers the opportunity to look into the feasibility of personal movers as sustainable mode of transportation," added Prof Chua.
Mr Yasuhiro Kakihara, Executive Vice President, Singapore Business Unit COO, Toyota Tsusho Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, said: "Being part of the Toyota group of companies, we feel that there is an urgent need to address issues related to traffic congestion and its impact onto the environment in densely populated mega cities such as Singapore. At the same time, the behavioural needs of the next generation of consumers have to be satisfied in order to create a sustainable business model. The launch of this project will pave the way for a new mode of transportation in Singapore to benefit the society as a whole."