An electric car uniquely yours made in Singapore

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong taking part int the virtual ground-breaking ceremony for the project

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the virtual ground-breaking ceremony for the project (PM Office)

By Ivan Lim
Former AJA President, Contributor to AsiaN  

SINGAPORE:  Not just any car, but an electric one made in Singapore itself that you can order over your mobile phone with features to suit your personal taste is coming your way.

The exciting experience will be provided by Hyundai’s use of smart technology at its assembly plant in the city-state.

The top South Korean auto-maker will begin rolling out its loniq EV model in two years at its highly automated production line within the Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Centre (HMGIC) being set upin the Jurong Innovation District.

In a statement, the company said its new Singapore electric car hub would becarbon neutral by tapping solar and hydrogen energy. The centre would also apply artificial intelligence and robotics in its operations.

Under its executive vice-chairman Chung Eui-sun’s concept of human-inspired values for the whole production process, Hyundai’s special marketing deal allows buyers to place orders online withcustomised features and watch the car taking shape.
The owner can take the new car for a spin at the Sky Track on top of the seven-storey complex.  Further, to make it attractive cost-wise, Hyundai is offering buyers the option to lease the expensive car battery.

In Singapore, electric cars with a price tag of S$100,000, or more, make up only 1,120 of the 630,600 cars on the road, according to the Land Transport Authority.

Hyundai plans to roll out 30,000 electric cars annually by 2025, of which 5,000 to 6,000 will be sold locally.

The Seoul-based conglomerate moved in after British home appliance maker Dyson Ltd aborted its $2.5 billion EV plan last year on grounds of its profitability in the city of 5.6 million people.

Hyundai picked Singapore, which had phased out uncompetitive car assembly in the1980s, in order to capitalise on the city-state’ s plan to replace petrol and diesel vehicles with electric and autonomous ones by2040.

Hyundai is working with Nanyang Technological University and research body A*Star to do research on hydrogen fuel cells and on applying AI forself-driven vehicles.

Hyundai’s choice of Singapore is a vote of confidence in the Republic’s role as a “bridge” in the Republic of Korea President Moon Jae-in’s New Southern Policy of expanding trade and commerce with the 10-member Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean).

That Singapore attaches great importance to the Hyundai venture could be seen by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong taking part int the virtual ground-breaking ceremony for the project on Oct 13.

He was joined by Hyundai executive vice-chairman, Mr Chung, Minister of Trade and Industry and Energy, Mr Sung Yun-mo, as well as Ambassador to Singapore, Mr Ahn Young-jip, and Ambassador to South Korea, Mr Eric Teo Boon Hee.

Mr Lee highlighted in his speech the government plan to increase demand for electric cars by raising the number of charging points island-wide from the current 1,700 to 28,000 in 2030.

He reckoned the Hyundai’s high-tech venturesin Singapore will help to create new jobs such as Internet of Things engineers, data scientists and digital supply chain strategists.

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