Let’s face it, Singapore has all the right ingredients to excel in the adoption of more electric cars on the road. Furthermore, electric cars are becoming more mainstream, and you’re likely not alone in wondering whether an electric car is right for you. As the technology supporting electric cars (EVs) and batteries continue to improve, drawbacks such as high cost, limited range, performance issues, long charge time, and a dearth of charging stations are fading away.
Figures from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) show there were 1,036 fully electric cars on the road as of September this year. This is up from just 12 three years ago.
Electric Vehicles make up about 2 per cent of the total car population worldwide, even though this number is slowly increasing. Norway is front and centre in terms of adopting more electric vehicles on their roads, where around 10 per cent of the vehicle population is electric. In China, 1.2 million electric vehicles were sold last year in which half of all the electric vehicles sold were financial incentive motivated.
In Singapore, petrol-driven are still the majority on the road, numbering at 575,493. Cleaner air is coming, thanks to cleaner cars. At the Budget 2019 announcement, the doubling of the excise duty on diesel to S$0.20 per litre is only the latest in a series of measures to encourage the adoption of cleaner motoring solutions. Measures like these align with a larger vision that is part of Singapore’s recently announced Land Transport Master Plan 2040.
The increase in the number of electric cars has largely been driven by fleets, rather than individual owners. More than half of the local electric car population belongs to car-sharing firm BlueSG, which has about 530 electric vehicles in its fleet.
A switch to an electric vehicle could help Singapore significantly cut its level of emissions, as private cars make up more than a third of emissions by the transport sector, according to the National Climate Change Secretariat.
From a practical standpoint, Electric Vehicles pollute less at a localised level and that makes sense in a dense urban environment like Singapore. The lack of an internal-combustion engine means they produce no tailpipe emissions, which means they’re virtually silent, so noise pollution is reduced as well. Charging up electric vehicle batteries are significantly cheaper than filling up a tank of petrol. Furthermore, you’ll save on maintenance and servicing as an electric motor has far fewer parts than an engine — you don’t need regular oil and spark plug changes with an electric motor, for example.
Then there’s the driving experience. As a driver, this would definitely be one of the bigger concerns. Well, ann electric motor provides virtually all of its torque from the moment you set off, whereas you’d need to wait for an engine to rev up before it can deliver meaningful thrust. This makes electric vehicles so good in the stop-start traffic that’s endemic to driving in urbanised areas like Singapore, as their instant acceleration makes for a much more responsive driving experience.
With all that being said, it is also essential for us to note that as our city matures, the more important it is for us to recognise the need for greener transportation in our tiny island-metropolis.