The pandemic has built a case for cities around the world to rethink their environmental and social initiatives, and ask how to further accelerate livability for citizens.

The way we travel will form a big part of Singapore’s sustainability success in the 21st Century; and there are two options: adopt electric vehicles (EVs) or start moving vehicles with our feet like The Flintstones.

Climate change will shape the city’s digital architecture. EVs are an environmentally friendly option, but they also rely on many other technologies to run smoothly.

Karen Chong, Country Manager at ServiceNow, shared the critical elements for adopting EVs. She outlined the importance of data in the government’s adoption of green technologies at GovInsider’s recent webinar.

A market for sustainable transport

Looking to successful EV adoption overseas can help countries such as Singapore develop its own sustainable transport market. Governments are responsible for encouraging citizens to transition to EVs but also for ensuring the infrastructure is there to support it.

Norway’s “carrot and stick” method is noteworthy, said Chong. It promised positive benefits for EV owners, such as tax exemptions, lower or zero road tolls, and even free parking spaces, she highlighted.

The country also discourages current owners of combustion-driven vehicles by placing higher taxes and levies on them. This system has seen success, with Norway becoming the first country where EVs are the most popular type of car sold, The Guardian reported.

China is another country that is making significant progress in EV adoption, Chong noted. The vehicles are predicted to make up 45 per cent of all new sales by 2030.

The Chinese government is preparing for this in two ways. First, they are coming up with new innovations for batteries. Second, the government has a clear focus on building more charging infrastructure across the country.

Data: The compass for EVs to go far

EVs don’t just run on batteries. They need data from all corners of a smart city to truly go the distance.

For instance, data is crucial for running on-demand shared car services. Providers could keep tabs on when and where vehicles are most needed, and send them on their way. This could also enable predictive maintenance to minimise downtimes.

Governments will also need updated information on the EV models citizens are buying, so they can provide the right charging infrastructure, Chong shared.

Most organisations are not yet reaping the rewards of their massive investments in digital transformation, an IDC report found. Data is the key to unlocking the potential of digital tools – EVs included, she highlighted.

A pit stop for EV data

With all this data streaming in and zooming about, organisations will need to assess their data processing methods. A consolidated portal to keep track of all the moving parts will be helpful.

CERN, a European research laboratory for particle physics, has already begun to see success for its e-scooter and e-bike services. Its vehicle management tool gives it greater visibility into how its vehicles are used.

This has helped it use fleets more efficiently and minimise costs. “It’s not a big leap to see the same technology scaled up and applied in the smart city context,” Chong said.

Such platforms will help improve response times whenever citizens have queries. Better visibility means staff can understand problems and get to the information they need quicker.

A one-stop information portal for citizens will also be useful. Governments and companies could set it up to update their latest EV incentives and plans for EV-related infrastructure. Citizens may claim subsidies and report hiccups, such as charge points that aren’t working.

ServiceNow’s Now Platform supports governments to establish cities digital architecture, to manage data that delivers livability outcomes and serve citizens better, Chong highlighted.

There is no time to waste when it comes to adopting sustainable forms of transport. Connecting cities through data and building a visibility tool, existing EV efforts can shift into fifth gear.