When almost every other country in the world prioritized transitioning to electric vehicles, Singapore decided to take the back seat. It did nothing much to encourage the adoption of the latest technology. However, its stand has changed after about two years, and it is ready to push for the same. Last week, its transport minister Ong Ye Kung spoke in parliament. He said that shifting from gas-powered cars to electric vehicles would impact the net carbon positively. He added that not even the generation of electricity since they get it from fossil fuels makes them worse than their counterparts, gas guzzlers. It is also important to note that Singapore promised to spend up to $22 million on initiatives revolving around electric vehicles in the next five years.
According to Ong, Singapore is a suitable area for testing the impact of rapidly adopting electric vehicles. After all, it has quite an urban environment, no doubt. The change of heart comes several years after Elon Musk took his frustrations of Singapore to Twitter. Tesla Inc. CEO has, on several occasions, rebuked the country via Twitter. For instance, in 2018, he said that the government was not a supporter of electric vehicles. The following year, he tweeted about the island and chose the word unwelcome to describe it.
The lack of support of electric vehicles by Singapore has been happening for quite some time. In 2016, the very first Tesla EV was imported into the country. According to an associate professor serving at Nanyang Technological University and its business school, to be precise, Zafar Momin led to confusion among local regulators since they had no idea of how to assess it. It also prompted a debate, and the involved parties decided to tax the owner. For emissions from the EV during charging, the owner would pay a tax of $15,000.
The move to tax the electric car came as a surprise since it was like a punishment. It was also strange since the rest of the world was encouraging EVs’ adoption through incentives, whereas Singapore was discouraging it using taxes. As far as Zafar, that could have led to Elon tweeting about Singapore on a bad note.
However, that is now water under the bridge since Singapore is now supportive of electric vehicles. It plans to be using electric buses exclusively by 2040. It will be impossible to register a diesel car come 2025. By 2030, the government will have installed 60,000 charging stations. Those are just some of the ways that Singapore is promoting the electric vehicles sector.