Singapore to replace 400 diesel buses from Dec 2024

  • Market: Biofuels, Electricity, Oil products
  • 03/06/23

Singapore will launch a tender this month to secure about 400 electric buses (e-bus) to replace diesel buses and has set targets for airport vehicles, as part of its transition to cleaner transport.

The diesel buses are planned to be replaced from December 2024, when they reach the end of life. "This will help achieve the goal of electrifying half our bus fleet by 2030 and a 100pc cleaner energy bus fleet by 2040," the country's transport minister S Iswaran said on 3 March during the Committee of Supply Debate 2023.

New bus depots will be completed to support e-bus operations, and Iswaran expects higher upfront costs when switching to e-buses to be offset by lower operating costs in the long run.

Singapore has set a goal for all vehicles to run on cleaner energy by 2040 to meet its commitments under the Paris climate agreement, aiming to gradually phase out internal combustion engine vehicles by then.

"I should also add that… from this year, all new cars procured by the public sector will be electric, or alternatives with zero tailpipe emissions," Iswaran said.

There has been a greater take-up of electric vehicles (EVs) in Singapore, largely owing to its planned ban on new registrations of diesel cars and taxis from 2025, as well as EV incentives such as the EV Early Adoption Incentive. EVs accounted for 11.8pc of total new car registrations in Singapore in 2022, up by eight percentage points from 2021, according to the Ministry of Transport and the Land Transport Authority.

Air transport sector

Electrification will also be key to reducing emissions in the air transport sector. The government aims for all vehicles on the airside to progressively replace diesel models and run on cleaner energy by 2040, with currently close to 20pc of around 2,500 airside vehicles at Changi Airport powered by electricity, Iswaran said.

New airside light vehicles such as cars, vans and minibuses, as well as certain new heavy vehicles such as forklifts and tractors must be electric from 2025, if electric models are available and viable, he added.

The government will enhance charging infrastructure on the airside and increase EV charging stations from the current 100 to more than 300 over the next few years. Trials on the use of renewable diesel, particularly for airport ground handling vehicles, will also take place. But more details on the timeline were not provided.

The city-state will also set up an additional S$50mn ($37.1mn) aviation sustainability programme to support feasibility trials and research studies. It also aims to work with other countries to create "green lanes" for sustainable flights and establish green and digital shipping corridors. Further details will be released by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), which will publish a sustainable air hub blueprint in the second half of this year.

CAAS, Changi Airport, aircraft manufacturer Airbus and industrial gas firm Linde signed an agreement in February 2022 to study hydrogen's use as an aviation fuel and for ground operations at Changi Airport.

Maritime sector

Iswaran said all new domestic harbour craft must be fully electric, capable of using B100 biofuels or able to use net-zero fuels such as hydrogen by 2030 as he reiterated the 2050 net zero target for the harbour craft sector.

The Maritime Energy and Sustainable Development Centre of Excellence — a Singapore maritime research centre — will release findings from a compatibility study on various biofuel types and percentage blends for domestic harbour crafts by the end of March, the MPA said.

It will also launch an expression of interest (EOI) in the second quarter of this year to call for proposals relating to the design, financing and demand aggregation of new electric harbour craft.

The MPA and Singapore's Energy Market Authority also called for EOIs last December to establish low or zero-carbon ammonia power generation and bunkering projects on Jurong island. The EOI will close by around the end of April.


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