SMART Automobile, a Singaporean taxi operator, has launched the nation’s first fleet of CNG-powered taxis. It will also establish at least two compressed natural gas (CNG) refuelling stations by the end of next year.
Singapore, which currently adheres to Euro 2 standards, is adopting Euro 4 emission standards in October 2006. To encourage the transition, the government set up tax incentives for CNG or Euro-4 compliant diesel technologies.
SMART’s first 30 CNG taxis are bi-fuel Mercedes-Benz E200 NGTs (earlier post). The four-cylinder 1.8-liter engine delivers 120 kW (163) of power and peak torque of 240 Nm. In natural gas mode it reduces CO2 emissions to 168 g/km—down more than 20% compared to gasoline mode.
Singapore, however, currently only has one natural gas station. SMART intends to set up two or three refueling stations to address the lack, using a National Environment Agency (NEA) innovation grant.
As part of the transition to Euro 4, Singapore is also requiring the early availability of ultra low-sulfur diesel (ULSD). The existing diesel in Singapore contains 500 parts per million (ppm) of sulfur, which meets Euro 2 emission standards. The new ULSD is further refined to reduce the level of sulphur down to 50 ppm.
Another tax company, ComfortDelGro Corporation, is using ULSD from Shell in more than 180 of its Mercedes vehicles. By the end of the year, the company hopes to increase that number to 400.