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Singapore Electric Vehicles

Singapore New Electric Vehicles Measures Expected to Jolt Sales. 

The car industry is looking forward to an uptick in sales of electric vehicles (EV), following plans announced by Finance Minister Heng Swee Kiat to spur Singapore’s switch to cleaner energy vehicles.

Mr. Heng announced in his 2021 Budget speech that S$30 million (US$25 million) has been set aside over the next five years for EV-related initiatives entailing public-private partnerships. This could include measures to improve charging availability at private premises.

Referring to climate change as an existential threat as well as a “gradual and intensifying risk”, Mr. Heng identified cleaner energy vehicles as one way to reduce emission. He announced that the floor for Additional Registration Fees (or ARF, an upfront tax) payable for some EVs will be reduced to zero in January next year, from S$5,000 currently. That will make some EVs cheaper by up to that amount next year.

At the same time, Mr. Heng said, road tax bands will be adjusted so that mass market electric cars will be taxed comparably with internal combustion engine (ICE) equivalents.

While the tax adjustments aim to make EVs easier to buy and own, Mr. Heng also announced a measure to make them easier to live with. Singapore will accelerate the development of its charging infrastructure to better support the growth of EVs in the next decade. The plan is to deploy 60,000 charging points at public car parks and private premises by 2030 – more ambitious that the previous target of 28,000.

Car companies that have launched EV models or have them waiting in the wings cheered the initiatives from a climate change point of view. They commented that the country is clearly kicking up a gear to embrace EV adoption as part of the bigger conversation and commitment towards environmental sustainability. Some car companies noted that the new Vehicular Emissions Scheme together with the Electric Vehicle Early Adoption initiatives tax rebates reduce the prices of some electric cars by up to S$45,000. Figures from the Land Transport Authority show that EV sales are up sharply so far this year. In January alone, 57 new electric cars were registered here, compared to 97 EVs for all of 2020.

Any additional incentives will certainly be helpful to boost the sales of EVs in Singapore. U.S. suppliers are encouraged to capitalize on the opportunities. New exporters with no intent to establish their own offices in Singapore should partner with local car dealers or distributors to establish their market entry to Singapore.

U.S. firms may contact Mr. Ng Haw Cheng at the U.S. Commercial Service in Singapore for consultation on possible avenues in supplying the Singapore market. Mr. Ng can be reached at Hawcheng.Ng@trade.gov.

03/29/2021