Singapore has expressed its ambition to phase out internal combustion engine (ICE) cars by 2040 in consecutive Budget announcements last year and this year.
To achieve this goal, the government announced a wide range of measures to accelerate the rate of adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in Singapore.
For starters, the government has nearly tripled its original target of setting up 28,000 charging points to 60,000 by 2030. Out of this figure, 40,000 will be installed in public carparks, and 20,000 in private premises.
To put these numbers into context, there are only about 1,800 public EV chargers as of December 2020. This means that Singapore’s EV charging infrastructure will undergo a massive 30-fold increase within the next decade.
In line with this, Singapore is looking to establish eight EV-ready towns in Singapore by 2025. They will be located at Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Choa Chu Kang, Jurong West, Punggol, Queenstown, Sembawang and Tengah.
These eight towns will be fitted with EV chargers, and other towns will also progressively be EV-ready by the 2030s.
Grants to incentivise EV adoption
The government has also rolled out a slew of grants and incentives to increase the adoption of EVs.
Most recently, it introduced an EV Common Charger Grant (ECCG) for existing non-landed private residences to kickstart the expansion of shared charging infrastructure.
The ECCG will co-fund half the installation costs of 2,000 chargers between July 2021 and December 2023, with an overall cap of S$4,000 for each charger.
There are also plenty of other grants for private vehicles and commercial vehicles:
- EV Early Adoption Incentive (EEAI)
To encourage the adoption of EVs, the government has launched the EEAI for the next three years, from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2023.
Owners who register fully electric cars will receive a rebate of 45 per cent off the Additional Registration Fees (ARF), with a cap at S$20,000.
This scheme will apply to both individual and fleet vehicle owners, such as taxi and car rental companies.
In Budget 2021, Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that the minimum ARF for electric cars will be lowered from S$5,000 to zero from January 2022 to December 2023.
The EEAI will lower the upfront cost of an EV by an average of 11 per cent and narrow the upfront cost gap between electric and ICE vehicles.
2. Revised road taxes
From 1 January 2022, the road tax brackets of 30-90kW and 90-230kW will be merged and subjected to the road tax formula of the 30-90kW bracket.
This will lead to a reduction of up to 34 per cent in road tax for EVs in the 90-230kW bracket. These changes will also apply to PHEVs that currently pay road tax based on their maximum electric power rating.
3. Vehicle Emissions Scheme (VES)
To promote the adoption of cleaner vehicles and discourage the purchase of more pollutive models, the current VES for new cars, taxis, and imported used cars, will be enhanced with increased rebates and higher surcharges.
The enhanced scheme has taken effect on 1 January 2021, and will last until 31 December 2022.
From 1 January 2021, the rebates for vehicles in both Bands A1 and A2 will be increased by S$5,000 for cars, S$7,500 for taxis. This means a car in Band A1 will enjoy a S$25,000 rebate instead of S$20,000, and a car in Band A2 will enjoy a S$15,000 rebate instead of S$10,000.
With the enhanced VES, coupled with the EEAI, buyers will be able to enjoy combined cost savings of up to S$45,000 when they purchase a new fully electric car, and up to S$57,500 for a new fully electric taxi.
The higher savings will encourage EV adoption by further narrowing the upfront cost gap between electric cars and their ICE equivalents.
4. Commercial Vehicle Emissions Scheme (CVES)
Band A vehicle owners receive a S$30,000 incentive disbursed annually in equal payment over three years. Meanwhile, Band B vehicle owners will receive an upfront S$10,000 incentive upon vehicle registration.
5. Enhanced Early Turnover Scheme (ETS)
Existing Euro 2/3/4 Cat C diesel vehicle owners will receive both the ETS and CVES incentives if they replace their vehicles with a Euro 6 (or equivalent) LGV classified in Band A or B of the CVEs.
A BEV-based LGV classified in Band A or B of the CVEs will qualify for both the ETS and CVES incentives.
To encourage the shift to cleaner alternatives, owners of HGVs can enjoy the highest incentives if they turn over their existing Cat C diesel vehicle to an HGV that zero tailpipe emissions.
The gov’t is leading by example
“Over the next two decades, the shift to electric vehicles will gather significant momentum as prices fall, and as a greater variety of models become available. The entire value chain must adapt to this transition – from vehicle sales and engineering, to charging infrastructure and user behaviour,” said Minister for Transport, S. Iswaran at the opening ceremony of Sembwaste’s electric vehicle charging hub last week.
He added that the government has laid out key strategies to support the EV transformation, in areas such as vehicle costs, charging infrastructure and regulations.
The government has vested the Land Transport Authority (LTA) with new statutory functions governing EVs and EV charging, including the setting of technical standards for chargers. These will take effect on 29 July 2021.
A newly-formed National Electric Vehicle Centre (NEVC) will spearhead the drive to promote wider EV adoption.
In addition to planning for the expansion of the nationwide EV charging infrastructure, NEVC will also lead efforts to review EV regulations and standards and develop a robust EV ecosystem in Singapore.
NEVC will work closely with relevant government agencies, industry stakeholders and unions to equip the local workforce with new capabilities, anchor new EV-related activities, and facilitate the safe and innovative development of new EV-related technologies.
The government is also leading by example. Under the GreenGov.SG effort that was recently announced, all new cars procured by the government will be cleaner energy models from 2023 — seven years ahead of the national policy for all new car and taxi registrations to be of cleaner energy models from 2030.
All government cars will also run on cleaner energy by 2035, which is five years ahead of the national EV vehicle by 2040.
Partnership with private sector is key
Minister S. Iswaran stressed that the private sector is a key stakeholder and essential partner in driving EV adoption and expanding the charging network. As such, the government launched last week two new initiatives that will support and partner the private sector to spur EV adoption.
The first is an EV charger regulatory sandbox that will help to foster a pro-innovation regulatory environment.
With the global shift to EVs, the progress of charging technology has accelerated. New charging solutions have emerged, and many fall outside the scope of our national charging standard, which is known as Technical Reference 25 (TR25).
LTA is leading a comprehensive review of TR25 in partnership with industry players and technical experts, which will be concluded by the end of the year. It will study the potential introduction of standards for newer fixed charging systems, such as high-powered chargers and swappable batteries for electric motorcycles.
“The updated TR25 will help us develop our charging network on a safe and future-ready foundation. Meanwhile, many companies are already making plans to introduce novel charging technologies,” he said.
“Therefore, earlier this month, LTA launched an EV charger regulatory sandbox to accommodate novel technologies that are on track to be included in TR25.”
LTA has been engaging companies to submit specific sandbox applications for case-by-case assessment, and to work out the detailed operating conditions.
One example is Tesla’s V3 supercharger, which would be a unique service offering for Tesla owners. With these new superchargers, Tesla expects charging times to drop to around 15 minutes.
The sandbox for Tesla launched last week with three charging points in Orchard Central, and more to come in the next few months.
Secondly, the government will launch a grant scheme to spur the growth of Singapore’s EV charging network. In fact, work on the charging network in public carparks is already underway.
In the coming weeks, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and LTA expect to announce the results of the November 2020 pilot tender for the first 600 or so charging points.
LTA has also just concluded a Request for Information exercise and is studying the views from industry players on the market structure for developing and operating charging infrastructure.
Earlier in April, it sought written replies from players in the market on how best to structure electric vehicle charging point tenders. This will affect public carpark charging points, covering critical issues like the pricing of charges to consumers and how charging points will be installed.
It will also take into account the charging points’ operation and the upgrading of infrastructure needed to support them, such as substations and switch rooms.
“As we shift gears and transit into an electrified vehicle landscape, there will be many economic opportunities for our companies and workers,” he said.
“From the incentives announced earlier this year, to the regulatory sandbox for charging solutions and ECCG, we will continue to work in close partnership with businesses on this electrification journey, and bring about a cleaner, greener transport system for the benefit of all Singaporeans.”
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