Budget 2022: Spike in new electric car sales in Singapore in 2021

New electric car sales made up 3.8 per cent of new car registrations in 2021. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - New electric car sales grew by 17-fold last year to 1,740 units to make up 3.8 per cent of new car registrations.

According to fresh statistics from the Land Transport Authority, this represented a leap from 100 units and 0.2 per cent of new car registrations in 2020.

Tesla led by a mile with 924 units, with MG, Porsche, BMW and Hyundai trailing far behind in the bestsellers' list, but each with three-digit sales. All others in the list of 18 brands – up from 12 in 2020 – which offered electric cars here had double- or single-digit sales.

The momentum is expected to pick up pace this year, as a new initiative that lowers the road tax for mass market electric cars kicks in and more models enter the market.

Nevertheless, industry watchers said Singapore’s ambition to phase out combustion engines by 2040 remains a lofty one. They said despite the hefty tax incentives – funded largely by taxpayers – the total ownership cost of an electric car is still noticeably higher than that of equivalent conventional models.

They also pointed out that the plan to roll out 60,000 electric vehicle (EV) charging points by 2030 looks unlikely to be met given the current pace. 

To this end, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said on Friday that the Government will “further accelerate EV adoption by building more charging points closer to where we live”.

Observers took this to mean Housing Board estates, where more than 80 per cent of the population lives. 

“To do this, infrastructure upgrades will be necessary,” Mr Wong said, adding that the funds for this could come from green bonds.

The Government plans to float $35 billion worth of green bonds up to 2030. 

There are currently around 2,200 EV charging points here, but not all are accessible to the public.

Even with an EV population of 3,713 as at end-2021 (or under 0.4 per cent of the total vehicle population), users are starting to face some difficulty in locating a charger that is nearby, in working order and is unoccupied when they need one. 

Read next - Budget 2022 highlights: GST hike, higher income tax for top earners and CDC vouchers for all

Remote video URL

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.