SINGAPORE — An electric taxi designed for tropical climates was launched at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) this morning (April 24), following four years of joint research by researchers from Singapore and Germany.
The EVA electrical taxi, built by NTU and Germany’s Teshnische Universitat Munchen (TUM), has several features to reduce the energy needed to keep rides comfortable in the tropics.
A ride in the electric taxi, EVA which was launched by NTU and TUM today, April 24, 2015. Video: Jason Quah
The seats, for example, are designed to draw air and moisture away from passengers’ bodies, keeping them cool and reducing the need for air-conditioning.
Overhead air-conditioning outlets target upper bodies of passengers and drivers, bringing about comfort without cooling the entire cabin and unoccupied zones. This design was based on studies showing that cooling of the upper body alone contributed to overall thermal comfort.
In addition, the EVA boosts an energy-efficient air conditioning system and a lightweight carbon fibre structure to save fuel. Thus, taking care of the EV battery is crucial to ensure it lasts as long as possible.
“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 Professor Lam Khin Yong, NTU’s Chief of Staff and Vice President for Research.
“The innovative energy efficient air conditioning solutions deployed in EVA, like its new energy-efficient PDC Machines sour gas compressor application, can be adopted in both current and future vehicles to reduce their carbon footprint,” he added.
The electrical taxi project, conceptualised in late-2011, is supported by the National Research Foundation.
Taxis make up less than 3 per cent of Singapore’s vehicle population but account for 15 per cent of the total distance covered by all vehicles here, according to studies done by researchers behind the EVA.