Buy an Electric Vehicle in Singapore

All you need to know
March 29, 2023

As most of the smog in the atmosphere comes from vehicles in the city, the internal combustion engine, and tailpipe emissions, the government is executing its ambition of a green transition.

In 2022, Singapore's government showed through its budget that climate change is one of the primary concerns. 

Building on their 2020 plans to phase out internal combustion engine vehicles in Singapore in favor of fully electric vehicles by 2040.

As nearly 1 million vehicles are on the roads today, the goal is to create a more eco-friendly city.

The journey won't be easy though, of the almost 600,000 private vehicles in Singapore, only 3% run on lower-emission hybrid engines, and the number of fully electric vehicles is even lower.

The promise is to make the city quieter, improve air quality, and cut costs on energy consumption.

3 tips you need to know if you're going to buy an EV

Electric cars in Singapore are not cheap! 

With costs reaching anywhere between S$ 100,000 to +S$140,000 for mass-market models.

Higher-end models exist and go way beyond these figures, costing up to half a million, we'll leave such high-end supercars on the side as they constitute a market of their own and if you're looking at those, you're probably looking at petrol-based supercars too.

One central aspect of electric cars is their range: how far they can travel on a full charge. 

This is both linked to their total capacity: how much charge they can hold, and their power consumption: how much electricity the vehicle uses up to travel 100km.

These stats come in all shapes and sizes, but to help you make a decision, keep in mind that if you're looking to save on costs, try and aim for lower power consumption. 

Also, if you don't plan to charge your car often, try and look for a vehicle with a higher maximum range. 

This shouldn't be a problem in Singapore as you probably aren't going to cover very long distances.

If you're looking for a vehicle that can drive you around the city, you'll have more flexibility in your choices.

What rebates can I get for buying an electric car in Singapore?

In an attempt to phase out petrol car buyers and provide an increased value to electric vehicles, the Singapore government has announced a short-term rebate to encourage more drivers to make the switch.

When registering a new electric car, drivers can now qualify for a rebate on the electric vehicle's ARF or Additional Registration Fee which will be reduced from the current minimum of S$5,000 to S$0.

It is estimated that this should give an overall discount of more than 10% when buying an electric vehicle.

Additionally, road tax will also be adjusted for electric vehicles, these will be lower over the next 2 years. 

Such savings will however be offset by the sixth-monthly lump-sum taxes from 2021 to 2023.

 This can be easily explained by the need to recover taxes from fuel sales from electric car drivers.

As more people shift to electric vehicles, the government can no longer tax petrol companies for selling petrol to you. 

This means that you'll be directly taxed instead. 

Don't worry though, this decrease on the road tax is expected to outstrip the new sixth-month taxes.

How much can I save when making the switch?

Some quick mathematics will make you realize the major benefit of switching to an electric vehicle.

  • The average annual distance driven per car is roughly 17,500 Km. Source
  • The average petrol price per liter is $2,68 Source
  • The average energy tariff rate is 31,82 cents/KWh Source

Now comparing a classic electric Hyundai Ioniq (11,7 KWh/100km) to a combustion engine-based car like the Hyundai Avante (6,7 liters/100Km), we get a total expense of around S$650 for the energy costs of the electric vehicle, whereas we spend more than S$3100 for the petrol based car.

This leads us to a S$ 2500 energy saving, which is a big change.

You might think EV ownership requires a lot of maintenance as EV technology is more recent and might be less stable. 

On the contrary, because these vehicles run cleaner than petrol cars, maintenance costs are also expected to be lower, this is expected as the combustion engine revolves around exploding fuel to make the wheels turn, this leave residues and great physical force. 

In simple terms, there's less wear and tear which leads to fewer issues.

EV charging in Singapore

A photo of an electric vehicle charging on a tesla charging station.

EV charging is a central question behind EV adoption. 

As every EV model needs stations and EV chargers, the global adoption of such vehicles relies heavily on overall electrical installations.

If the global number of charging points isn't quite there yet, there's still some good news.

The total number of charging stations on the island is set to reach 60,000 by 2030.

At present, only 1,600 charging points are available, with each charging station being able to charge only one car at a time.

These are inspected regularly and run majorly on AC, such chargers can give you a full charge in about 4 hours. 

In some stations, however, such as Shell Recharge, 50KW DC (direct charging points) fast chargers will get you to 80% in 30 minutes.

These numbers and figures only display public charging infrastructure, if you have the resources, you could install your own private charging station. 

Some manufacturers include the price of the charging station in the vehicle's sale price.

Smart charging capability

Charging a vehicle takes time and can be challenging at different points.

As the vehicles have very large batteries, charging can take up a lot of time. 

The most frequent thing people do is to let their cars charge overnight.

While this is perfectly functional, smart chargers now optimize charging to profit from the electrical grid's benefits. 

If energy is cheap at a certain time, the charger will pump out more power, if it gets more expensive, the charger will choose to use less power.

This ultimately helps you save on charging costs while ensuring your car is charged when you need it.

Other types of electric vehicles

We've talked a lot about cars as the main source of interest when discussing electric vehicles.

As a relatively small island, Singapore allows you to benefit from other types of transport, such as bicycles and scooters. 

Both give you the ability to move effortlessly, they also bring convenience to the table as these vehicles can don't require charging points. 

You can charge them when you get home and use these for your daily commute. 

No need for fixed chargers, a full battery charge will get you anywhere in the city.

This alternative option will save you money, why buy EVs when you could for instance take your power-assisted bicycles instead? 

There's nothing extra to carry, nothing hybrid, nothing to install, no minimum number to achieve, just savings for your future.

These personal mobility devices are new electric vehicles that bring all the benefits of EVs while staying compact and allowing for the use of non-fixed chargers.

Electric vehicles come in all shapes and size

An electric vehicle today can actually be very convenient, finding the one for you might be the hardest part. 

Do you want a car, a bicycle, a scooter, or maybe even something else? 

The point is, motors have gotten to the point where their range and the power they bring are enough to fit most people's needs, specifically on a small island like Singapore.

With the economic benefits, they bring when compared to a petrol-based option, why not make the change?

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