Retrofit of ERP 2.0 OBU in your car to replace its IU - frequently asked questions by the motorist

Published by on . Updated on 18 Apr 2024

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Owners of existing cars will be progressively notified by LTA in the second half of 2024 to make an appointment to install their On-Board Unit (OBU).

With a few hundred thousand cars involved in this retrofit installation exercise which is expected to run till the end of 2025, plus the many thousands of motorcycles and commercial vehicles which also need to have OBUs installed, it could be several months into the second half of 2024 or even well into next year before it’s your turn to swop your car’s current IU (in-vehicle unit) for the “future” OBU. 

Your turn might not even come if your car is, for instance, on a five-year COE (which cannot be renewed) that will expire during the ongoing OBU installation exercise, or is currently laid up, or is on the Classic/Vintage scheme with usage restrictions. 

Here is our list of FAQs about the retrofit of the ERP 2.0 OBU (Electronic Road Pricing 2.0 On-Board Unit) to replace the IU, presented from the owner’s point of view.

I don’t like/want/need the OBU touchscreen, may I use my smartphone instead?

Yes, you may. Instead of installing the official touchscreen, you may use a compatible app in your smartphone to access real-time ERP 2.0 functions, such as road pricing alerts, payments/deductions and CEPAS card status/balance in the OBU’s processing unit. 

There are four compatible mobile applications for both Apple IOS and Android phones (as of 2024 April) - LTA’s “ERP” app and the Motorist super app, plus two other apps. You will need to register your smartphone via OneMotoring Digital Services and then pair your registered device with your car’s OBU via Bluetooth.

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My smartphone is the perfect alternative touchscreen for the OBU, without any drawbacks, correct?

Not totally correct. The integrated touchscreen allows the driver to adjust the volume of OBU alerts (from the processing unit) between soft and loud, but the compatible app does not offer this feature. 

Without the touchscreen, the OBU processing unit’s audio volume has to be set at the point of installation (as agreed between the installer/workshop and the car OBU owner), and subsequent adjustment by an authorised OBU installer might be chargeable. It will also mean another trip and some downtime.   

Another advantage of the touchscreen is its text format (big, to the point) and infographics (basic, minimalistic), which make it easy to read at a glance, even when compared to today’s “max” and “ultra” smartphone screen sizes. 

The readability is also probably ideal for most drivers due to the touchscreen’s landscape orientation and recommended location just above and to the right of the instrument panel, whereas the smartphone’s often-used portrait orientation, different types of holders/mounts and inconsistent placement on the dashboard (depending on individual preference) might make it harder to read than the standard-issue touchscreen in an optimal position.

Furthermore, using the OBU touchscreen is plug-and-play, whereas using a smartphone/app instead will require additional steps (register device and then pair it to the OBU). LTA also highlights that it will be a less seamless experience for the motorist to access future functionalities which make motoring easier and/or safer.

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May I trade in my brand new, unused OBU touchscreen for a new CEPAS card with $50 inside?

No, this is not a cash-out option for any motorist who is given the free OBU from the Government. 

If you choose not to install the OBU touchscreen, the authorised workshop will pass it to you, probably after the installation of the other two pieces in the kit - the processing unit and the antenna box.  

You may install the OBU touchscreen at a later date if you change your mind about relying on your smartphone for Electronic Road Pricing, but there will be a fitment fee charged by the authorised workshop, although the amount may vary either side of $70 (LTA’s published cost for a car OBU installation if it’s beyond the two-month “free install” window), depending on the workshop or dealership aftersales department.

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1712651219771 D38 V3672 Fotor(From left to right) On-Board Unit's antenna box, touchscreen and processing unit.

I can only spare an hour during my weekday lunchtime to have my car’s OBU installed, can the installers do a rush job for me?

Rushing any technical job to be done on your vehicle is not a good idea, because it might compromise the quality control or lead to shortcuts which could cause issues later.  

Officially, the four hours required for an OBU installation will vary depending on the make, model and condition of the car. Another factor is the experience and workflow of the OBU installation team, which includes the customer-facing folks doing the “check-in/out”. 

On the day of the appointment, the authorised OBU installation centre will advise the motorist on the expected completion time for the OBU installation. It should take no more than four hours, but could be faster (if, for instance, it’s a well-oiled back-end team doing a standard install in a simple, common vehicle) or slower (if, for instance, the installers are fairly new to the task and doing the installation in a complex, uncommon vehicle such as a supercar).   

Basically, completing the job satisfactorily in an hour or two is not doable. Allocate half a day to be safe, maybe on a Saturday if you don’t want to “waste” your half-day leave. 

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I cannot wait to upgrade from IU to OBU! Can I have it installed as soon as possible?

If the schedule and workload of the authorised OBU installation centre can accommodate such a request, it can be done, but this outcome is not guaranteed.

You may call the LTA’s helpline at 6377-2255 to ask for an early OBU installation date (if you have not received the official notification) or earlier OBU installation date (if you have already received the official notification). Alternatively, you may coordinate directly with your preferred/selected OBU workshop for an earlier slot or perhaps reschedule it to coincide with your car’s next servicing session. 

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Read More: Retrofit of ERP 2.0 OBU in your car to replace its IU - FAQs by the car if it was animate

Read More: The Motorist Guide to ERP 2.0 in Singapore

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