Is Singapore ready for Electric Vehicles (EV)?

Posted on Posted in Opinion

There are always risks involved being at the forefront of the newest trend. Electric cars are becoming popular among car owners globally. The vehicles have proven to bring huge savings and reduce carbon emissions by operating fully on electricity. Even so, we should take a step back to see what entails owning a battery-operated Electric Vehicle (EV).

Overview of EV Numbers Locally

According to the Land Transport Authority (LTA) annual vehicle statistics as of October 2020, there are only 1,120 EVs plying the roads in Singapore. Commercial firms like BlueSG own about 530 EVs while Grab has 180 electric Hyundai Konas and HDT operates a total of 129 electric taxis. Affordability and availability of EVs in Singapore may be the reasons that the numbers at large are attributed by commercial firms and not driven by individuals.

Affordability and Available Models in Singapore

Mass market electric car models currently cost between S$100,000 and S$160,000, while higher-end models can cost up to S$500,000. In comparison, you can get a Mercedes-Benz A180 Progressive for about S$152,888 which is the price of a lower end electric car model.

Government incentives can lower the purchase cost of an EV, with up to up to 45 percent (S$20,000) on Additional Registration Fee (ARF) under Electric Vehicle Early Adoption Initiative (EEAI). EV is also considered A1 band for emitting zero particulate matter under the Vehicle Emissions Scheme (VES), providing another S$25,000 off the car price. Potentially, the highest rebates anyone can get is up to S$45,000. However, the $20,000 cap on the EVEAI means not all models will be able to enjoy the full rebate.

Running Costs and Issues of EVs

  1. Increase in Petrol Price in Singapore & Road Tax Component For EV

The recent announcement by government on the increase of petrol prices in Singapore has made it costlier to own a conventional car. Singapore is also ceasing all new diesel cars and taxis registrations from 2025, effectively phasing out such vehicles from Singapore roads.

The average drive for a Singapore car is 17,500km annually, with standard 95-octane petrol costing about S$2.242 per liter, the petrol costs will be S$2,515 per year using the GLA as an example. (petrol consumption of 15.6km/l). In comparison, it cost only S$929 on an Audi e-tron electric car to travel the same distance based on current electricity tariffs. This is a considerable amount of savings for EV owners.

  1. Battery Reliability

The major component of an EV is its battery, most manufacturers offer an eight to ten-year warranty on the battery while your car dealer/ automakers might provide extended warranties, this varies from one company to another. However, the fine print in the warranty terms may vary and manufacturers are known to void the warranty with overuse of fast chargers.

While your wallet might be protected, incurred inconveniences due to battery recalls are very real. A recent example would be the recall by Hyundai for its EV models.

  1. Software Problems in EV

Traditional ICE manufacturers still seem to be facing teething issues in the newer EV makes. The Volkswagen ID3 has been plagued with bugs since launch and cars have been delivered in an incomplete state. Early owners are subject to minor inconveniences, not something you wish to face when you pay over $100,000 for a new car.

Local Infrastructure for EVs Locally

The current public network for EV charging is limited and inadequate to support increasing EV numbers, especially individuals who own an EVs. At present, only 1,600 charging points are available island-wide but each station can only accommodate one vehicle. These charging points will be increased to 60,000 stations in nine years (2030).

Our Recommendation

It’s in our view that Singapore is not ready for mass market EVs yet. The lack of charging infrastructure and teething issues mean EV is not for everyone. While cost savings are indeed real, the inconveniences make it hard to work. If you’re thinking of holding off on your next car purchase it might be wiser switching to a hybrid vehicle for next (and probably last) 10 years first.

Facts & Figures

Electric Car versus Conventional Car
Car ModelAudi e-tron ElectricMercedes-Benz GLA180
Energy consumption23.9 kWh/100km6.4 Litre/100km
Unit price22.21 cents/kWh$2.242/ Litre
Annual energy cost (17,500km)4182.5 kWh/ S$9291121.8 Litres/ S$2515
Road TaxS$3,132 annually$586 annually
Price of CarS$362,901S$146,000
Maintenance Costs<S$500S$500

There are also limited models in Singapore for owners who desire to own an electric car, below are some examples of electric car models:

Electric Car Models in Singapore
ManufacturerModelTypeSelling PricePower Consumption (kWh/100km)Maximum Range (km)
PorscheTaycan 4sSedanS$580,00028.0383 – 453
AudiE-tron ElectricSUVS$362,90123.9467
TeslaModel 3 (Standard Plus)SedanS$214,00011.9448
BMWI3 ElectricCoupeS$196,88814.5335
KIANiro EVSUVS$187,99914.7455
HyundaiKONA ElectricSUVS$140,99913482
NissanLeaf Electric5-door hatchbackS$131,98817.1311
HyundaiIoniq ElectricSedanS$122,99911.7311
Source: manufacturer and

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