What’s the only thing rarer than a labor strike in Singapore? Coming across an all-electric vehicle! No, I’m not talking about hybrids – I mean vehicles that run entirely on electricity without the need for petrol.
So how rare are these vehicles? Out of the 600,000+ vehicles in Singapore, there are only 3 privately-owned, fully-electric cars. So the short-term answer to the question of whether or not Singapore is ready for electric cars is a resounding NO! But the long-term answer is looking pretty optimistic.
So the question now becomes “Do Singapore drivers know enough about electric vehicles to switch from petrol to all-electric in the future?”
That’s a question we’ll clear up in this article.
Have You Heard of the Energy Market Authority (EMA)?
Don’t worry – I’m sure people know more about Victorian-era courting rituals than they do about the Energy Market Authority (EMA).
The EMA, along with its pal the Land Transport Authority (LTA), created a test-bed program in mid-2011 to evaluate how all-electric vehicles fare in Singapore’s road environment – from driving and charging habits, to vehicle reliability and performance.
The program ends in December, so by early 2014, we’ll know the results of the study. But you don’t have to wait till next year to confirm that all-electric vehicles are beneficial to Singapore drivers.
Here are several benefits that all-electric vehicles provide:
1. You Reduce Your “Fuel” Costs by 86%
This is the biggest upfront benefit of buying an all-electric car, and it’s one that you’ll be thankful for when unexpected “events” in oil-producing areas start driving up petrol prices (again). BEGONE, EXORBITANT FUEL COSTS!
Let’s say your current petrol-driven car has a 35-liter gas tank and you get about 350km out of it. If you drive 19,000km a year (national average), that’s around 1,900 liters you’re paying for yearly – or about $4,160 per year if you’re buying 98-octane fuel at $2.19 a liter.
But if you have an all-electric car, such as a Nissan Leaf, you’ll only pay about $5 to recharge the vehicle’s battery, which can go up to 160km on a full charge.
So if you’re driving the same number of kilometers per year, that’s roughly 119 recharges at $5 – meaning your yearly “fuel” cost is about $594, or 86% less than petrol!
2. Your Maintenance Costs Will Also Decline
You’d think that all-electric vehicles would be more complex and have higher regular maintenance costs than petrol-driven vehicles – but the truth is they’re not.
In fact, a petrol-engine costs a lot more to maintain because it has hundreds of parts that require lubrication to keep it running smoothly – namely engine oil and transmission fluid.
All-electric vehicle engines are as simple by comparison because they don’t require those costly lubricants.
That means those bi-annual servicing trips that cost you $500-$1,000 a year will be a thing of the past, because the only servicing you’ll need to take your car in for is tire rotation and brake fluid replacement.
3. Singapore’s Infrastructure and Weather Are Perfect for Electric Cars
All-electric cars aren’t perfect. In fact, their biggest limitations are their range (160km for the Nissan Leaf, although some cars like the Tesla Model S can go up to 480km!) and poor battery performance in cold weather.
But in Singapore, these “disadvantages” actually become strengths that benefit all-electric vehicle owners. Here’s how it works out:
- Size Matters: In large countries such as the U.S., it’s almost impossible to travel vast distances because all-electric cars have such limited range and charging station availability is still lacking. But Singapore is so small that drivers on average travel only about 30km-50km daily, making it a perfect choice for everyday driving.
- Winter Is NOT Coming: Cold weather shrinks… err, an all-electric vehicle’s range. It’s a fact that manufacturers are still working to fix. Fortunately for Singapore, winter only exists on television – so if you drive an all-electric vehicle, you won’t have to worry about battery “performance anxiety” because it’s summer year-round here!
Final Note: Even though Singapore’s infrastructure hasn’t been fully adapted (yet) to accommodate hundreds or even thousands of all-electric vehicles, it has taken the first step by establishing numerous public charging stations all across the island. It’s also small enough that you won’t have to travel for hours just to charge your car, which makes this little island a perfect test bed for these cars.
Also, if you’re lucky enough to own a landed property, it’s possible to have equipment installed so that you can charge your vehicle at home. But if you live in an HDB or Condo, charging your all-electric vehicle at your doorstep is out of the question (at least for now).
Just remember that no matter what vehicle you buy in the future, you should never go without a good car insurance policy, as that also factors into the cost of owning a vehicle in Singapore.
Would you buy an electric car? Share your views with us on Facebook!
icedsoul photography .:teymur madjderey
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