Electric Vehicles Aren’t Kicking Off In Singapore

Genius, Billionaire, Playboy, Philanthropist Elon Musk has announced that Tesla will be producing two new all-electric vehicles by 2020.

At the press launch held at Hawthorne, California, he unveiled the Tesla-Semi and Roadster, an electric truck and sports car with performance that far surpasses their fossil fuel-powered counterparts.

However, the conversion from petrol power to electric power is not easy as whole systems have to be replaced or developed in order to meet the needs of electric vehicles (EVs).

Apart from the infrastructure, the limited range of EVs is also a major disadvantage. In addition, the way cars are taxed here mean that fuel savings might not be enough to make Singaporeans go electric.

With a zapping new trend for electric or electrically-assisted vehicles all over the world, will Singapore have what it takes to be a part of this global electrical revolution?


This article will focus on the assumption of statistics and performance of the more affordable electric cars, e.g Tesla Model 3, BMW i3, and Nissan Leaf.

1. Inconvenient to charge cars

Unlike gasoline power vehicles, EVs cannot be “refuelled” instantly via quick trip to the petrol station.

They need to be charged up at a changing station, similar to a petrol station, or owners can use their own charging adapters at home.


Because charging with normal electrical outlets – like your typical three-pin plug – can take up to fifteen hours to fill up electric cars such as the BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf, “wall box” chargers are recommended. These reduce charging time taken to about four hours, which is still an eternity compared to about 10 minutes to fill a tank up.

And unless you live in a nice private property that comes with your own driveway, which most Singaporeans don’t, installing a “wall box” in your own home may not be an option.

Hence, charging stations will need to be widely available so we all can wait four hours before moving on with our day. Just look at how many petrol stations there are in Singapore. We’ll need the same number of charging stations. Perhaps more.


2. Even the chargers are different

To make things even more complicated, there is a variety of EV chargers produced by different manufacturers.

Each one has a different efficiency rating from the others.

For example, BMW and Tesla produce their own version of “wall-boxes” that is optimally tuned to their own cars. For example, Tesla’s Superchargers can power up Tesla vehicles in half an hour, but have not been tested on other brands.


Because of the infinitely configurable nature of car battery capacities, EV drivers will find it difficult to estimate the charge timings and potential range of their cars.

Considering how driving can give you a huge headache, you wouldn’t want to have the extra anxiety of figuring out when your car would go (battery) flat.

3. Time VS Money

Assuming taxes and miscellaneous costs such as parking remains the same, electric cars are as advertised: they are cheaper to run per kilometre than petrol cars.

Calculating from the average cost of fuel, electricity prices, and specifications of the Nissan Leaf and Toyota Camry, the greener Leaf triumphs at $0.04/km over the Camry’s $0.16/km.

However, in terms of range, the Camry leaps far ahead of the Leaf.


With a 70 litre fuel tank, the Camry is able to travel a total of 959km, compared to the Leaf’s 135km on a full charge of battery.

This means that because the Leaf needs at least 4 hours to charge in between driving, you would have spent a longer time charging your battery than actually getting to your destination.

If you’re looking towards heading into Malaysia for those weekend getaways, unless you’re looking to spend your weekend in a car, go with petrol.

4. Financial Upfront Costs

The upfront cost of purchasing a privately owned electric vehicle alone is enough to deter people away from buying one, after all Singapore is the most expensive country in the world to own a car. 

Calculations inclusive of ARFs and COEs, indicate the latest Tesla Model 3 could at least $135,000 after rebates. The Nissan Leaf is priced at $120,000 and ironically, BMW’s “cheapest” electric vehicle the i3, is listed on SgCarmart for $192,800.


This means the Tesla Model 3 and Nissan Leaf are about the same price as a petrol-powered Mercedes A-Class, Honda Accord, and Toyota Camry.

In addition, with the increase in ownership of electric cars, there is a cost of installing charging terminals at public and estate carparks.

It is still unclear who would bear the cost of developing such facilities.

5. Hybrids Taking The Spotlight

Petrol and electric cars aren’t the only ones battling out.

Largely due to its suitability in the Singaporean market, hybrid vehicles are also gaining popularity in Singapore.

These vehicles are able to charge their batteries while being on the go, alleviating the worry of finding an electric charging station and the time needed to wait for the cars to charge.

They are also more fuel efficient than regular fuel-powered cars.

Many manufacturers are adding hybrid functionality to their best-selling models, giving the people the same car they love while providing significant fuel savings.

So like the best of both worlds, and until Singapore establishes a proper EV infrastructure, hybrids will dominate the market.

EVs Taking The World By An Electrical Storm

With the continuous additions of more advance EVs in the global market, EVs are becoming a worth competitor to the conventional petrol engined cars.

In terms of acceleration, Tesla’s New Roadster 2 will even fly pass the world’s fastest car, the Bugatti Chiron: 0-60mph in a blistering 1.9secs.


Bigger countries like the US and the UK, may already have the support they need to facilitate larger volumes of EVs on their roads.

At the current moment, it will be difficult to have an electric vehicle for your lifestyle needs.

So until we have proper infrastructure to do facilitate EVs to their maximum potential, let’s just keep to the e-scooters.

Featured Image From Twitter