3 Reasons Why EVs Make Perfect Sense in Singapore

JAN 24 2014 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 13

Singapore

Singapore

Electric vehicles have yet to catch on in Singapore.

Map of Singapore

Map of Singapore

Sales of EVs there are basically non-existent, but a report by The Independent suggests that will change soon as Singapore is actually an ideal place for EVs.

Why is Singapore the perfect place for EVs?  The Independent lists these 3 reasons (which we’ve condenses down to highlight the important points):

1. You Reduce Your “Fuel” Costs by 86%

Let’s say your current petrol-driven car has a 35-liter gas tank and you get about 350km out of it. If you drive 19,000km a year (national average), that’s around 1,900 liters you’re paying for yearly – or about $4,160 per year if you’re buying 98-octane fuel at $2.19 a liter.

But if you have an all-electric car, such as a Nissan Leaf…your yearly “fuel” cost is about $594, or 86% less than petrol!

2. Your Maintenance Costs Will Also Decline

3. Singapore’s Infrastructure and Weather Are Perfect for Electric Cars

Singapore is so small that drivers on average travel only about 30km-50km daily…

Winter Is NOT Coming: Cold weather shrinks… err, an all-electric vehicle’s range. Fortunately for Singapore, winter only exists on television.

The island of Singapore is certainly a place where EVs would thrive.  The hurdle that remains is in convincing the public that the additional upfront costs are well worth it when the EVs reduced cost of ownership is factored in.

2014 is the year when Singapore hopes to break out of its EV sales slump, but unfortunately that may not happen so soon as few automakers are willing to export plug-in there due to lack of consumer demand.

But maybe by 2015 Singapore will join the EV revolution.

Source: The Independent

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13 Comments on "3 Reasons Why EVs Make Perfect Sense in Singapore"

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It is more comfortable to sit in the traffic jam with EV!

On a longer term most of the city traffic can be directed under ground as there are no emissions from EVs. This should clear the traffic jams and allow higher density of cars.

Some reasons why the Indy is overstating the case: The price of fuel includes tax. So if there is to be no loss to the exchequer that has to be equalised. Tax makes up about 30% of the price of petrol there, or $0.41 litre for 92 and 95 octane, and $0.44 litre for 97 octane: http://www.exxonmobil.com/AP-English/energy_fuelpricing.aspx So the 1900 litres used for their figures at an average of maybe $0.42 litre tax has $798 tax on it. Add that to the $594 to charge an EV, and you have $1,392, which is 33% of $4160, not 14% – and the batteries still have to be paid for etc. Singapore gets most of its electricity by burning imported natural gas: ‘Singapore is actually even more densely-populated than Hong Kong, even without the high-rise apartment and office blocks that cling to the edge of Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour. Its population is also lower (5.3 million as opposed to Hong Kong’s 7.2 million). But with an area of only 700 square kilometres, the island city-state’s human density is only surpassed by Macau and Monaco amongst sovereign states (which are both geographically much smaller). Given its location on the equator, a huge amount… Read more »

How on earth can they have an 19 000 km driving average a year? That’s 1000 trips from one end of the country to the other.

Do they share cars? Only have taxis?

More to the point, not only does it say that the average distance is 19,000km, but that the average daily distance is 30-50km, which, over 365 days, is 10,950-18,250. Making the average more like 14,000, not 19,000. So which is it?

I’m not saying that EVs aren’t a great choice for Singapore, but… this argument needs a bit more explaining.

There are several types of average.
If most days you drive 30-50km that may be referred to as an average, as well as totting up all the mileage in the year and dividing it by 365.

It can get pretty hairy if you look at the precise use of the terms, mean averages and all sorts of other things!

Oh, I’m with ya, just that 19,000 for Singapore sounds way, way too high and I’m trying to figure that out.

See my comment below.
They are picking up their aunts and so on, due to low car ownership.

So one car, serve the whole family/relatives… that makes sense =) Thank you for clearing that up.

Sharing them, and running the relations around, basically.
149 cars per thousand inhabitants, number 90 on the list of countries in cars per capita, and very low for its wealth.

Probably nowhere to park them, and another reason Singapore is far from ideal for electric vehicles, as I imagine although I don’t know that most don’t have garages to charge EVs in.

Car ownership is low as result of government policies. There is a quota set for annual new car sales, and as a result automobiles are very expensive. Don’t forget that Singapore was the first city to implement congestion pricing, around 40 years ago. So, the case for EVs is more complex. They do give priority to public transportation!

If Singaporeans only drove within Singapore, then yes, EV’s are ideal (electricity concerns aside) but many Singaporeans also take weekend drives to Malaysia. Many can only have 1 car due to COE so most will not choose a car with a crippled range as there is no public charging infrastructure.
Strictly looking at the size of the country and daily driving, EVs are great but one also needs to understand the people and their preferences. If you are Asian, can only have 1 car and the car is a status symbol, then you wouldn’t choose a little car (e.g. Leaf, e500, Prius). You’d go for maybe Tesla. So it’s not hard to predict that EVs won’t sell well over there.

Thanks for the info – that makes sense.
What is COE?

I have lived and worked in Singapore for 28 years and I have often wondered why not more has been done to promote EV’s, it is a very confined country (~25x40km) and has an EV friendly climate. Driving is mostly done within Singapore with an occasional trip across the border to shop. We do drive a lot though, I average over 20,000km/year (Honda CRV @ 1.2 L/10km). I can think of a few reasons why EV’s are not more common. 1. It would put a strain on the power grid, which is fossil fuel generated. 2. Cars are already very expensive compared with Europe/USA, many times the price for most models, and EV’s being considerably more expensive than equivalent petrol car would make it a serious financial commitment. 3. There is no reason for the government to give any tax/fee rebates on EV’s as they are trying to limit the car population, there is a quota system in place where you have to bid to get the right to purchase a new car, the current rate is around USD 60,000 for the certificate to buy a new car. 4 Garages are almost unheard of and only a small percent of… Read more »