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Within the Singapore Green Plan 2030, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has launched an extensive electric car (EV) campaign to cut the carbon emissions from land transport by up to up to 80% before 2050. The initiatives include the establishment of the 60,000 EV charging points, changing half of the taxi and bus fleet to electric vehicles by 2030. encouraging EV adoption to ensure that all vehicles are powered by cleaner energy in 2040.
However, there’s likely to be an oversupply of petrol kiosks within the coming 20-30 years, and many of them eventually being removed since petrol is becoming less popular to power vehicles. As these stations are decommissioned small parcels of land will be accessible for other applications. What can these plots be reused for when the time is near?
This day may come sooner than later. Electric (non-hybrid) automobiles in Singapore make up less than one% of the total vehicle population by 2022. Within the total vehicle populace, EVs make up 1%. However it is worth noting that they make up a significant portion of the total car population. EV number of people during the past five years was exponential, growing by an astounding 103% year-over-year, from 349 at the close in 2017 and 707 at the end of 2018.
In the year 2019 the rate of growth was similar to that of around 89% year-on-year, prior to the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020 which saw adoption drop to about 5% per year. But as the Covid-19 pandemic decreased and the population of EVs grew by 166% in 2021% by 2021, and up to 145% for 2022 (see the chart entitled “Vehicle populations of Singapore”).
If the rate of growth seen in the past five years is sustained and the rate of adoption increases, the number of EVs will increase by a factor of two each year (at an accelerated 100% increase) thanks to the backing of the government, and only hindered in part by Certificate of Entitlement (COE) annual quotas. If this pace continues over in the coming five years, amount of EVs in Singapore will be fifty% of the total number of vehicles in 2030.
As EVs become mainstream and mainstream, electric carmaker Tesla contracted to lease a building in Toa Payoh-Lorong-8 in Singapore to house its showroom along with its corporate office as well as service center. As the country was in the midst of the epidemic, Hyundai announced the development of a manufacturing facility for EVs in Singapore which will be operational in the first quarter of 2023. At a cost of $400 million it is estimated that the Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Centre set to produce 30,000 vehicles annually by 2025. between 5,000 and 6,000 electric vehicles to be available locally.
Petroleum stations located in Singapore
Based on data taken from Sgcarmart and petrol station websites as well as other resources, it’s estimated that there would be more than 180 petrol stations within Singapore in 2022. Of these, around 56% on private land, and the remainder of 44% allotted by different government agencies. Lease tenures between 10 and 99 years. The majority of the land leased by government agencies to be used for petrol station usage typically come with leases for 30 years.
HDB held more than 50 land tenders to be used for gasoline station usage between 1992 and 2020. In the average, the sites was 22,000 square feet. Although 22,000 sq ft isn’t much but the total area of 180 stations throughout Singapore covers approximately four million square feet of land.
Even if just 50 percent of all petrol station in Singapore are defunct in the near future This means that around 2 million square feet of area could be repurposed.
The majority of fuel stations located in Singapore have leases that are 31 years old or less (45%) or freehold (43%). A few of them have 99-year leases, or 999-year leases. About 5% of gasoline stations of Singapore are not in possession of tenures at the date of this article (see the chart entitled, “Estimated breakdown of land tenures for gasoline stations located in Singapore”).
Of the petrol stations located situated on private land large majority (77%), or approximately 80 petrol stations are located on freehold parcels. The land plots that average 22,000 square feet are tiny, and have little development potential economically without a merger with adjacent plots.
As EVs become the primary mode of transportation on Singapore roads What alternatives and best ways to utilize these stations? sites? The Boston Consulting Group study highlighted that as high as the 80% in petrol station sites may not be profitable in regions in which EVs become the main mode of transportation for cars.
Beyond the conventional assessment of value in terms of money landowners must now think about the value of environmental and social capital particularly in light of the current emphasis on social, environmental and governance.
Battery swapping, EV charging stations
The most obvious alternative to petrol stations is charging stations, in which the purpose is similarthat is, they are similar to fuel-powered vehicles at a specially-designed facility. Based on various factors, such as the car’s model and battery capacity, a rapid charge could take around 30 minutes, whereas slow charges could last for at least four hours. Parking lots, both public and private, have this potential as many are setting up and/or accommodating charging stations.
So, a specially designed charging station rather than the traditional petrol station is not feasible due to the length of time needed to charge regardless of whether the facility has other amenities that can keep users entertained while their vehicles are charged. It is highly unlikely that charging stations located at petrol stations are able to be competitive with HDB carparks or private condo carparks as well as land-locked homes as the former two providing more convenience against charging times currently in place.
Another option is the EV battery swapping stations. Although they aren’t yet widely used, Chinese electric carmaker Nio has come up with Nio Power Swap Nio Power Swap, which is an automated station will swap the battery of an old EV to a completely charged battery in just five minutes. This is similar to the pumping of a full tank of petrol in an internal combustion engine vehicle. This is a way to think of it. Nio offers the EV and leases the battery through the purchase of a subscription.
To be a viable option for being widely adopted, the system must work on nearly all EVs equipped with standardised batteries. At present, EV makers are employing various models for swapping batteries.
It’s not surprising that battery swapping is being trialed for delivery trucks in Singapore. Cycle & Carriage Singapore is cooperating with the online food delivery company Foodpanda to test electric motorbikes made by Gogoro, an Taiwanese company that pioneered the concept of battery swapping on two-wheelers. The electric scooters don’t have charge-down time due to the batteries that are removable and can swap out in about six minutes.
Fusion with adjacent sites
Another alternative for old-fashioned petrol stations is to combine them with nearby sites. As per the Singapore Land Authority, plots not suitable for development independent due to the small size of land or irregular shape of land could be sold as leftover land.
If the circumstances warrant the government could permit or even require developers to buy a remnant parcel of land, and then combine it with land owned by private owners since the combination can increase the practical and economic value of the land and the neighborhood. Land tenure for the remaining land will be tied to the adjacent private land.
The areas which petrol stations usually have are tiny. They could therefore be declared remnant land when the lease is about to expire and if the use of an petrol station ceases together with adjacent parcels, and then sold through an auction exercise with interested purchasers.
For instance the land tenure of that petrol station site situated in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 ended at the end of May in 2023. The government could declare the station’s site as land that is deemed to be remnant and mix it with some of the low-rise factories located in the area which could be obsolete in the near future. Then, the amalgamated parcel for auction.
With the proposed Cross Island Line and the adjacent Tavistock MRT Station becoming operational in 2030, the newly amalgamated site can be utilized in enhancing the value of both human and economic in the area.
Another example is the petrol station on 355 Commonwealth Avenue, which will expire in 2025. It is located at the intersection between Commonwealth Avenue and Stirling Road The station is located in one of the top HDB properties in Singapore. It is possible to merge with the older HDB blocks within the immediate vicinity if the HDB estates become obsolete.
The suggestions mentioned above could either aim to substitute the purpose-built petrol station by one which serves the same purpose serving electric vehicles or improve the area by recycling and redevelopment.
However, there are a variety of possibilities and possibilities for certain sites to be used for purposes that may not bring the greatest economic value but rather provide benefits to the community and social.
They could be in the shape of senior’s activity centres, community centres, or aid centres for groups that are marginalized like foreign workers and families that are not financially secure, as well as foreign domestic workers. Or these sites could be transformed into open spaces for everyone to take advantage of.
A few of these stations could be located on land that is larger than 22,000 sq feet with more latitude to allow for more diversification of development.
Flex space: Invasion of pods
The pods and space that are flexible make one of the most flexible platforms for harnessing the dynamic repurposing process that can help to offset market imbalances from time period.
It is not difficult to integrate the flexibility of today’s technological age with the real estate concept of co-working, living in co-living and other human-related activities. Containers for shipping, buses with double decks and other mobile structures can be easily converted into pods to meet a variety of human, lodging and commercial requirements without the need to consume more natural materials from the earth.
These could be put up on areas previously used by fuel stations. Although every parcel won’t likely be big enough to create a large amount of human or commercial activity The various locations scattered across Singapore could lead to a variety of possibilities that can be found in different neighborhoods along heavily travelled main roads.
There is evidence for it. A luxury boutique hotel named The Garden Pod was opened in September 2022 in Gardens by the Bay. It has hotel suites constructed from shipping containers and fitted with solar panels on the roof which provide the suites with up to the 80% of the suite’s power requirements.
Similar to that, 20 double-decker buses are set to be converted into a resort, which is being known as The Bus Resort located at Changi Village by end-2023. An additional example of hotel usage can be seen in Tiny Away Escape @ Lazarus Island which is run through Sentosa Development Corp. Five tiny homes, measuring between 150 and 170 square feet are being built in the month of May 2023 to accommodate visitors to Lazarus Island as a low-carbon high-intensity, low-intensity recreational option for the increasing number of environmentally conscious travelers.
The flexibility of pods could be used to create office spaces. A good illustration can be seen in the law center located at Tian De Temple located in Hougang which is run through Pro Bono SG. The clinic, which is free of charge, was established in January 2023 and is run from an office in a container on temple grounds.
Additionally an site located at 30 Cosford Road in Changi will transform to the F&B container park, which covers 38,000 square feet, and 13 containers available for F&B operators to lease. The $3 million investment developed by developer Tee Tree Investments will accommodate 350 people both in the outdoor and indoor areas. It is scheduled to be complete at the end of 2023.
Other possibilities are gyms, self-study centers as well as self-storage space as well as e-commerce collection points as well as small cafes and pubs. The list of possibilities is only limited by imagination.
Can these concepts not be applied to the land left from petrol station sites in the near future especially near tourist destinations and natural areas or employment centers, as well as residential areas? These abandoned petrol stations in the near future could provide many sites which allow for flexibleness as Singapore strives to rethink designing, redesigning, and reducing recycling, and reusing to create an economy that is circular.
Despite their small dimensions, the repurposing of petrol stations gives Singapore the possibility of a future explosion of sites with a variety of options and the possibility of a creative readaptation. They can be found in creating charging infrastructures for electric vehicles or amalgamation, and repurposing them to meet human or social reasons or creating flexible structures.
As part of the process of readingaptation the use of a format like containers or pods — in which the property could be easily transformed to meet the new demands of humanity with the most minimal amount of material consumption (that usually happens during the time that the property is renovated by the building process) could be the perfect icing in the current era of sustainability.