The journey to a smog-free atmosphere, greener future and petrol savings start with Electric Vehicles (EV). Read on for some of the perks and initial challenges of owning one before you drive home a Nissan Leaf or BMW i3.
DPM Heng Swee Kiat announced in Budget 2020 that Singapore will be phasing out internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles (i.e. vehicles that use petrol or diesel as fuel) in favour of fully electric vehicles by 2040.
The move is part of Singapore’s commitment to tackle climate change and build a more eco-friendly city, and the strategy centres on the nearly 1 million vehicles on our roads today.
The journey to a greener future won’t be easy. Of the nearly 600,000 private vehicles in Singapore today, only 3% runs on lower-emission hybrid engines (and fully electric vehicles, even less).
This is despite the well-known benefits of hybrid and electric vehicles: less harmful emissions, less noise pollution, cost savings on energy consumption, less judgement from that one militant vegan friend we all have…
Here’s all you need to know if you’re considering taking the high road and splurging for an electric car.
What are the popular models of electric cars on the market?
|Manufacturer||Model||Type||Selling Price*||Power Consumption|
|Maximum Range (km)|
|Nissan||Leaf Electric||5-door Hatchback||$139,888||17.1||311|
*Source: Manufacturer’s website and sgcarmart.com
We’re not a car comparison site so we won’t delve into too much detail here.
Suffice to say that electric cars in Singapore are not cheap, costing between $100,000 to $160,000 plus for mass market models. There are, of course, higher-end models that cost up to half a million bucks, but at that kind of price range you may well be tempted to look at petroleum supercars instead.
Besides the price, the thing to note about electric cars are their range (how long the car can travel on a full charge) and their power consumption (how much electricity it uses up to travel 100km).
From the table above, we see that different makes and models have different range and power consumption. If you’re looking to save costs, the lower the power consumption the better. However, if you regularly clock long distances, you may want to invest in a vehicle with a higher maximum range.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a vehicle for short city jaunts, you’ll likely have more flexibility in your choices.
What rebates can you get for buying an electric car in Singapore?
Buyers of electric cars in Singapore can enjoy two rebate schemes when they register their vehicle.
|‘Early adopter’ rebate (2021 – 2023)||45% of Additional Registration Fee, capped at $20,000|
|Vehicle Emissions Scheme||Rebate of $10,000 or $20,000, depending on vehicle make and model|
In a bid to phase out petrol cars, the Singapore government has announced a short-term rebate to encourage more drivers to make the switch.
When registering a new electric car, drivers will qualify for a 45% rebate on the vehicle’s Additional Registration Fee (ARF), capped at $20,000. According to the LTA, this ‘early adopter’ rebate — in force from 2021 to 2023 — is expected to reduce the cost of an electric car by an average of 11%, bringing them closer to petrol cars, price wise.
Additionally, road tax will also be adjusted downwards for electric vehicles, but the savings here will be mostly offset by six-monthly lump-sum taxes from 2021 to 2023 due to the need to recover excise duty from fuel sales.
|Tax amount||Collection||Total amount for the year|
In other words, since your vehicle won’t be using petrol, the government can no longer tax petrol companies for selling petrol to you. Hence, you’re being taxed instead. But not to worry, the decrease in road tax is expected to outstrip these taxes.
The above are new measures that go on top of the existing Vehicle Emissions Scheme (VES) rebate that electric car owners enjoy — either $10,000 or $20,000 off the ARF, depending on the specifications of your electric car.
When you de-register your electric vehicle, the usual PARF and COE rebates apply.
How much money can you save when you switch to an electric car?
A major benefit of switching to an electric vehicle is the savings on energy costs. The following table illustrates the potential annual savings you can get from driving an electric car.
To help us in our calculations, let’s use the following set of assumptions:
- Average annual distance driven per car = 17,500km (source)
- Average petrol price per litre = $2.11 (source)
- Energy tariff rate = 24.63 cents/kWh (source)
|Car model||Hyundai Ioniq Electric||Hyundai Avante|
|Energy consumption||11.7 kWh/100km||6.7 litres/100km|
|Annual energy cost||$504.30||$2,473.98|
Hypothetically, you’re looking at energy savings in the thousands over the course of a year, which is not chump change.
Another area of potential savings is in car maintenance. Because electric vehicles literally run cleaner than petrol cars (which have engines that basically explode the fuel in them to get the wheels turning), maintenance costs are also expected to be lower in comparison. There’s simply less volatile reactions and less wear and tear.
Where can I charge electric cars in Singapore?
With so many advantages, you’d think drivers would be flocking to make the switch. Sadly, the overwhelming majority of private cars plying our roads are still of the polluting, petrol variety. One major block is that the number of charging stations isn’t quite there yet.
The good news is, the government is gradually increasing the number of charging stations to hit 28,000 across the island by 2030. At present, only 1,600 charging points are available, and each charging station can only charge one car at a time. The majority runs on AC, but at certain stations such as those at Shell Recharge, there are 50kW DC (direct charging) fast-chargers that could charge a car from 0% to 80% in 30 minutes. Here’s where you can seek out public charging stations in Singapore.
|EV Charging Point||Number of Stations||Price|
|BlueSG||Over 200 charging stations available island-wide.|
To hit 2000 charging points this year.
|Drivers will need to subscribe to become a BlueSG member first. A year’s membership costs $20.|
For EV charging, it costs $1 per hour for the first three hours, and $2 an hour after that.
|Shell Recharge||10 charging stations.|
Fast charging available.
|$0.55 per kWh|
|SP Group||24 charging stations.|
To hit 1000 charging points this year, with 250 being fast chargers.
|Prices are calculated by kilowatt hour (kWh) and are adjusted periodically based on prevailing electricity costs. |
Download the SP Utilities app for more details.
|Greenlots||50||From $1.50 an hour|
Of course, as indicated, these are public charging stations. If you currently reside in a landed property and you’ve got the resources, why not install your own private charging station right? Yes, you can totally own one, and some manufacturers include the price of the charging station in the vehicle’s sale price.
Is buying an electric car any different from a petroleum car?
In case you were under the impression that buying an EV is a whole different ball game, it really isn’t. There are no extra hoops you have to jump through; you would be making careful consideration of your financing options much like how you would for a standard petroleum car.
Unless you are a lucky recipient of a lucky draw grand prize, or have deep enough pockets, you really have two options: taking out a car loan from the bank or a financing package from the car dealer. The latter is great for car buyers who simply want a one-stop shop to snag their smartphone on wheels, whereas bank loans have the edge in terms of flexibility and options.
If you’re seriously still fantasising about that lucky draw thing, we’ve got just the one for you here.
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By Alevin Chan
An ex-Financial Planner with a curiosity about what makes people tick, Alevin’s mission is to help readers understand the psychology of money. He’s also on an ongoing quest to optimise happiness and enjoyment in his life.