Despite obtaining your driver’s licence when you were young enough to remember how to draw bar diagrams to solve math problems, you’ve never actually had the chance to drive, let alone own, a car.
Instead of grabbing your first chance to drive on an overseas holiday, you now have the chance to rent an electric car at home.
BlueSG, Singapore’s first car sharing service, was launched in December 2017 and enjoyed more than 5,000 rentals in the first three weeks of operation alone.
Driving home in an electric car is certainly a more attractive option than squeezing onto the MRT.
But how viable is this electric car sharing scheme really?
How to rent a BlueSG car?
You need to sign up as a member and pay a monthly subscription in order to be able to use BlueSG’s cars. You can do this on their website, or by using their mobile app. You can also link up your account with your EZ-Link card.
Once you’ve signed up, you simply collect cars from charge points, and then drive to the charge point that’s closest to your destination to return the car.
You should make sure there is a space at your charge point—you can check online or reserve a space in advance. Don’t think you can just park the car illegally if there is no more space, as it needs to be plugged into a charging station before you stop paying for it.
So obviously, the number of charge points plays a big role in making this service viable for the individual. If you have to walk 3km to and from charge points, that’s as bad as taking a feeder bus to the MRT station.
Our honest opinion? There are quite a few charge points in central areas like Orchard, Bugis and Chinatown, although you’ll have to be prepared to walk to get to them.
But in the suburbs? Not so much, but it’s improving.
Image credit: BlueSG
Unless you’re lucky enough to live near a charge point, you will still need to take a Grab/Uber or public transport to get home.
Neighbourhoods with charge points include Ang Mo Kio, Toa Payoh, Bukit Panjang, Choa Chu Kang, Bukit Batok, Jurong West, Hougang, Tampines, Bedok, Yishun, Sembawang and Bukit Merah. But it should be noted that many of these neighbourhoods have only one charge point location, which may not be within walking distance of your home.
How much does it cost to rent an electric car from BlueSG?
Members will pay a monthly fee giving them the right to use BlueSG cars. They will also be charged by the minute when they are using the cars.
There are two available options:
- 1 Year Premium: Subscription of $15 a month, and you pay 33 cents per minute of use.
- 1 Week: No monthly subscription, and you pay 50 cents per minute of use.
That means that if you don’t subscribe, a 20 minute ride would cost $10, and a 30 minute ride $15.
This is really not a bad deal, and almost definitely cheaper than what you’d pay taking taxis or Grab/Uber PROVIDED traffic is smooth and you’re not stuck in a jam.
And because there’s no midnight surcharge or other such nonsense, it’s one of the more affordable ways to get home after midnight—provided you can find an available car, and do not live too far from a charging point.
What is the best way to maximise BlueSG?
For most people, BlueSG will be cheaper than taking Uber/Grab or taxis in smooth traffic. One drawback is that it might also take longer to get home, since you’ll have to factor in travelling to and from charge points.
There is also the added disadvantage of not being able to get your hands on a car, since supply is quite limited at the moment.
Here’s how to get the most out of the service.
Travel in a group
You enjoy the greatest cost savings if you’re travelling in a group, all headed in the same direction. Bonus points if you’re in a group of five, which can fit into one BlueSG car but would require two cabs or private hire cars. This makes BlueSG an ideal solution for families.
Travel only in smooth traffic
Another obvious point is that BlueSG charges by time and not distance. That means that it will cost way more to travel during traffic jams than at 3am. It is therefore an ideal late-night travel option.
On the other hand, you should avoid using BlueSG during peak hour or traffic jams, as you could end up paying even more than you’d have to pay to take Grab/Uber, since you’ll be charged by the minute.
Use it for situations where taxis wouldn’t want to pick you up
One problem with using Uber/Grab or taxis is that some drivers are not comfortable with certain assignments. For instance, if you have a dog, some drivers will refuse to carry it because of religious reasons, or because they don’t want drool on their seats.
Some drivers might also not be okay with having to make multiple stops, or carrying large/bulky items like bicycles. But nobody is going to judge you when you’re the king of your own electric car.
Be prepared to give your full attention to driving
Finally, it should be noted that if you’re going to be the one driving, you’ll have to actually keep your eyes on the road, rather than text or watch dramas on your iPad during the commute.
If that’s a problem for you, or driving makes you turn into a monster, on behalf of other road users we beseech you to call a Grab/Uber instead.
Have you tried BlueSG’s electric car sharing service yet? Share your experiences in the comments!
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