Singapore seeks to woo drivers to EVs with splashy campaign

SINGAPORE: A young couple leans in for a kiss as the sun casts shades of purple, pastel pink and orange across a city skyline. In the background, a line of sleek electric vehicles charge their batteries.

Far from advertising a new romantic comedy, billboards and social media posts are urging Singapore to "fall in love with EVs.”

The twist on traditional film tropes is just one part of a campaign - which also includes a short video in the style of a Hollywood action-thriller and a comedian debunking myths about EVs - that the government is rolling out to get residents to go electric.

The city-state plans to phase out new registrations of internal combustion engine cars from 2030 and to have 60,000 EV charging points that same year.

But while the government has offered a series of incentives and rebates to make EVs more affordable, car ownership remains out of reach for many Singaporeans.

That’s because the country is one of the most expensive places in the world to own a car.

Singapore requires all vehicles to have a certificate of entitlement, which allows a resident to register and use a car for 10 years, and acts as a quota to limit traffic congestion.

But prices have surged in recent years, at times costing more than US$100,000 (RM473,100) - and that’s before buying the automobile itself. Even with EV rebates and incentives, and excluding the COE, a BYD e6 costs S$146,888 (RM517,633).

Singapore is slowly making inroads, with EVs accounting for about 18% of new cars registered last year.

Still, while the number of EVs in the city-state increased more than 80% last year from 2022, they account for less than 2% of total passenger vehicles, according to Land Transport Authority data.

Minister for Transport Chee Hong Tat said in parliament Tuesday that hybrid car registrations increased from 39% in 2022 to 47% in 2023, meaning that nearly two-thirds of cars registered in 2023 were cleaner-energy models.

He added that more than one in three public housing carparks have EV chargers and by the end of 2025, all Housing & Development Board carparks should have an EV charger.

"These will support overnight slow charging, which remains the main strategy of our charging network,” Chee said. "This is adequate for most drivers.”
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