OCBC Bank and NUS Announce Collaboration on Electric Vehicle Adoption Study

Published on: 19 August 2022
by KnowESG

OCBC Bank and the National University of Singapore (NUS) have announced the initiation of the nation's largest dedicated study to explore the most effective nudges to encourage Singaporeans to use electric vehicles (EV).

The study, which is anticipated to last three months, will involve 32,000 OCBC Bank customers. They will be chosen based on their likelihood of replacing their cars in the coming years.

Through the study, OCBC Bank and NUS hope to discover nudges that best encourage people to switch to EVs, such as concerns about the long-term cost of EV ownership or the climate-damaging carbon emissions levels of petrol and diesel vehicles. 

The persuasiveness of the various arguments will be assessed by analysing anonymised data from 32,000 users, including transit spending, fuel sales on OCBC cards, and the rate of EV transition.

Associate Professor Alberto Salvo of the Department of Economics at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences leads the NUS research team. Prof. Salvo also serves as the Associate Director of the NUS Global Asia Institute (GAI). The team also includes GAI environmental and behavioural economists, as well as a Cornell University expert on the US and Chinese EV markets.

The study's findings will assist businesses and organisations in accelerating consumer adoption of EVs and other green practices, as well as supporting Singapore's ongoing push to electrify its vehicle population by phasing out petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040. According to Singapore's Land Transport Authority, EVs now account for less than 1% of the overall car population.

Since its launch in March 2021, OCBC Bank's upgraded electric vehicle loan, also known as the OCBC 'Eco-Care' auto loan, has seen its take-up rate more than quadruple. With increased demand and interest in EVs, the bank anticipates that the whole OCBC 'Eco-Care' auto loan business will rise by more than 250% by the end of the year. The findings will be studied so that OCBC Bank may further enhance and personalise its green products to make them more appealing to customers.

Mr Sunny Quek, Head of Consumer Financial Services Singapore, OCBC Bank, said: 

“Supporting our customers in the transition to a low-carbon world is an area of focus for OCBC and this has been formalised in our corporate strategy. To that end, we have made a concerted effort to launch sustainable products and services, including green investment products and our OCBC ‘Eco-Care’ home, renovation, and car loans – and the take-up rates have been encouraging thus far. However, given the urgency of the climate crisis, more needs to be done to speed up adoption rates. That is why we embarked on this study with NUS. Only by understanding what makes consumers tick, and which factors really tip the scale for them in favour of electric vehicles, can we effectively encourage our customers to go green.”

Associate Professor Salvo said: 

“The EV market is very fluid, information frictions are substantial, and there is little carbon literacy. We believe that relationships built on trust, such as a person’s relationship with their bank, as in the case of OCBC’s customers, have a key role to play in educating current petrol car owners on just how attractive EVs can be, both for themselves and the betterment of society. Our partnership is ultimately about helping Singapore meet its carbon mitigation pledges.”

A research paper will be published once the investigation is completed and the results have been analysed. It is expected in the second quarter of 2023. This study represents OCBC Bank's latest effort to strengthen Singapore's EV ecosystem. 

Previously, the bank established a strategic relationship with Charge+, an operator and developer of EV charging solutions, to support Charge+'s aspirations to deploy 10,000 EV charging points across the island by 2030.

In partnership with Charge+, the bank operates the largest EV charging facility in Singapore's Central Business District, with ten charging stations.

Source: OCBC Bank

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