In May last year, US automotive and energy firm Tesla globally launched its Tesla Superchargers.
In Asia Pacific, countries like China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand were all getting a piece of it — except Singapore.
A Tesla fan tweeted to CEO Elon Musk to “do something to allow (those) in Singapore to get a Tesla”.
Musk actually responded to his tweet, saying that Tesla has “tried”, but the “Singapore gov’t is not supportive of electric vehicles”.
Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan swooped in the conversation and offered Musk help to bring Tesla to Singapore roads.
There has been no updates to this possible Tesla x Razer collaboration since then, but another Twitter user questioned Musk about the lack of Tesla presence in Singapore in January this year.
“Gov’t has been unwelcome (although) Singapore has enough area to switch to solar/battery and be energy-independent,” he replied.
Tesla Is A “Lifestyle” And S’pore Is Not Interested In It
Commenting on Musk’s criticism at the government’s unwelcoming attitude towards electric vehicles, Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, said “what Elon Musk wants to produce is a lifestyle.”
We are not interested in a lifestyle. We are interested in proper solutions that will address climate problems.– Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources
During the recent National Day Rally speech, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that the government will be investing US$100 billion over the next 50 to 100 years to battle climate change.
As it renews its efforts, Singapore’s stance is clear: taking public transport is a better climate-change solution than a Tesla.
Although Singapore’s existing train and bus network is already extensive, the government is looking at enhancing it so that a trip anywhere within Singapore will take no longer than 45 minutes by 2040.
S’pore Has Potential To Fully Convert To EVs, But Can We?
Despite its focus on public transport, Mr Masagos said that “if there’s any country which can convert from petrol cars to 100 per cent EVs, it will be Singapore.”
However, he noted that it would be difficult to have sufficient charging stations since 85 per cent of Singapore’s 6 million-strong population stays in HDB flats.
Finding a parking lot is “problematic” enough as it is, said Mr Masagos. If the government rolls out charging points, he cannot assure that there will be enough to cater to the demand.
“We do not have the solution yet,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, a study commissioned by Royal Dutch Shell revealed that half of Singaporeans (52 per cent) do not buy an electric car because they think there aren’t enough places to plug in.
In addition to this finding, Mr Masagos expressed his confidence that Singapore can seamlessly transition to plug-ins because the government controls car ownership licenses.
This can be the key to change, he stressed.
Featured Image Credit: Forbes