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Electric Cars in Singapore | Buying Guide for Electric Cars

DirectAsia Insurance_A white electric car plugged into a battery charging station to recharge

Electric Cars in Singapore - Things to Know Before You Buy

Reading Time: 6 mins

Increased awareness about climate change and global warming, have jolted drivers around the world towards environmentally-friendly sources of energy and eco-friendly vehicles. Coupled with the depletion in world oil reserves and the pollution of fuel, such as petrol and gasoline, it’s only a matter of time before all motor vehicles get replaced by an environmentally-friendly alternative – the Electric Vehicle. So, buckle-up as we drive you through this handy guide to electric cars in Singapore!

Let’s start with some interesting facts about electric cars that you should know.

What defines an electric vehicle? Well, it’s an eco-friendly vehicle that functions with a rechargeable, battery-powered engine instead of a conventional gas, petrol or diesel engine found in traditional cars. Science has now established that petrol and diesel vehicles release a significant amount of greenhouse gases, namely carbon dioxide (CO2), into the environment, contributing to climate change. Electric vehicles on the other hand, can reduce the emissions that contribute to climate change and smog, improving public health and reducing ecological damage.

What’s more interesting, is that electric vehicles could soon cost the same as gas cars, thanks to lower battery costs. Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that “By 2023, battery prices will drop near the USD100-per-kilowatt-hour threshold.” This means electric vehicles may likely become cheaper to buy then.

Basically, all electric vehicles have an electric motor unlike conventional cars that houses combustion engines. It uses a large traction battery pack to power the electric motor and must be charged at a charging station or a charging wall outlet. Typically, an electric vehicle takes anywhere between 30 minutes to 12 hours to charge – depending on the make of the car, size of the battery and speed of the charging outlet. So, it can take up to 8 hours to fully charge, with a 7 KW charging point.

With that said, a mid-sized 22 kWh battery provides a driving range of around 130-160 km (80-100 miles), depending on the size of the battery pack. And despite the upfront costs of buying an electric vehicle, costing between $100,000 to $140,000 plus for mass market models in Singapore, it can turn out to be more economical in the long run, due to lower maintenance costs and easy re-charge options.

Charging can even be done at home – if you live on landed property – with an easy installation of a home charging point or an electric vehicle supply equipment, that plugs into a 3-pin socket (usually provided by the electric carmaker). The home charging point is said to be reliable, fast and comes with built-in safety & protection features for peace of mind.

It’s also worth noting that the batteries that power these vehicles are designed to hold their charge longer, so it does not need to be charged every night.

Electric vehicles also don’t require oil changes, because there is no oil used to run the engines. Electric cars also don’t need air filters, engine lubrication systems, fan belts, spark plugs or any of these motor vehicle parts that may need occasional replacement as with a conventional petrol or diesel car.

Another compelling fact, is that electric vehicles have distinct motors for each wheel or each pair of wheels, which produces more circulatory force instantaneously as compared to an internal combustion engine in a traditional car. This feature makes it faster and more responsive, improving the driving dynamics and overall safety of the vehicle.

Advantages of Electric cars

To sum it up, here are the main benefits and advantages of electric vehicles:

  • Electric vehicles are eco-friendly.  
  • Electric vehicles use electric energy, which is a sustainable resource, unlike gasoline, petrol or diesel that affects the environment.
  • Electric vehicles require less expensive repairs and less recurring service and maintenance.
  • Electric vehicles produce less noise compared to other conventional vehicles.
  • Electric vehicles that have been purchased and used, qualifies for tax exemptions, credits and acknowledgment of the owners.
  • Electric vehicles usually cost one-third the cost of conventional fuel-powered vehicles because electricity is less expensive than petrol, diesel or gas.
  • Many electric vehicles utilise regenerative braking in addition to the energy required to function, and it’s completely cost-free.

Tax Credits and Exemptions

After reading through all the benefits, are you keen to own an electric car in Singapore? First, you should be aware of the tax credits and exemptions that you will be eligible for. Owners or drivers of electric automobile cars are eligible for credits and certain privileged exemptions on their tax returns for using an electric car that is eco-friendly and good for the environment. So, remember to read through the fine prints, if any, before making a decision on whether to purchase an electric car or not.

Credit amounts may vary for electric cars, depending on its make and model. If you are interested to know what kind of credits you could receive, there are various online resources accessible for you to analyse and compare.

What’s more, under the Electric Vehicle Early Adoption Incentive (EEAI), when you register a new electric car, you automatically qualify for a 45% rebate or discount on the vehicle’s Additional Registration Fee (ARF), capped at $20,000. According to the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in Singapore, the early adopter rebate is currently in force and will be effective till end of December 2021, which would reduce the overall cost of an electric car by an average of 11%.

With so many advantages, are you wondering why most cars running on Singapore roads are still fuel-based? Well, unfortunately, one major setback is that the number of electric vehicle charging stations on the island are limited.

Good news is, the Singapore government is aiming to scale up to 60,000 electric vehicle charging points across the country by 2030, with 40,000 in public carparks and 20,000 in private premises. At present, only 1,600 charging points are functional. Each charging station can charge only one car at a time, which is expected to improve with this initiation.

Although the majority of electric cars run on alternating current (AC), a few selected stations like the ones at Shell Recharge – with 50 kW direct charging (DC) power, fast charge – could charge a car from 0% to 80% within 30 minutes. Caltex has also made an announcement that it will offer fast charging stations for electric vehicles at four locations by early 2021.  And the collaboration between SP Group and Chevron Singapore will see the addition of 50kW DC fast chargers at 3700 Yishun Ring Road, 78 Changi Road, 100 Jurong West Avenue 1 and 130 Dunearn Road.

Payment for the fast-charging stations can be made via the Singapore Power Utilities Mobile App, which can also be used to check the availability of these charging points in real-time.

How about insurance? Don’t worry! The electric car poses much lower risks of fire explosions as compared to conventional vehicles. For this reason, the cost of car insurance for electric cars in Singapore will probably be more economical compared to conventional cars.

Just remember, as you weigh the options of buying an electric car in Singapore, the overall costs and sustainability in the long run are definitely favorable factors to consider. On top of that, seeing that safety is priority when driving, a reliable car insurance for your electric car is critical.

Final Thoughts

There are numerous advantages of purchasing an electric car, the most important being sustainability and the fight against climate change. But at the end of the day, your choice of wheels depends on your intended usage and individual preference. Considering the environmental impact of conventional cars, it might be a wise decision to be an early adopter of the Electric Vehicle trend.