Singapore Charges Ahead: EV Adoption Accelerates, hitting 32.6% Market Share in 2024

In my 7 June 2024 article on upcoming EVs in Singapore, I mentioned a Bloomberg Green study that set the Tipping Point to the mass adoption of EVs when more than 5% of new car sales are electric.

“when 5% of new car sales are purely electric. This threshold signals the start of mass adoption, after which technological preferences rapidly flip.”

Tom Randall, “Electric Cars Pass the Tipping Point to Mass Adoption in 31 Countries” Bloomberg 24 March 2024

According to a recent Straits Times (ST) article, EVs accounted for 32.64% of all new cars registered in Singapore from January to May 2024, based on Land Transport Authority (LTA) data. Of the total 14,802 cars registered during this period, 4,819 were EVs, with Chinese brand BYD accounting for 45.3%.

The EV population has doubled every year since 2021

Looking at the data in the  LTA’s total car population by Fuel Type, Singapore’s EV population has doubled yearly since 2021, with a total of 11,941 EVs on Singapore’s roads by the end of 2023. With 4,819 EVs registered so far in the first 5 months of 2024, Singapore’s EV population should reach 25,000 by 31 December 2024.
Electric Vehicles have been on Singapore’s roads for ten years, but their popularity with new car owners has only taken off in the last three years, due to several factors, including the Enhanced Vehicular Emissions Scheme (EVES) and the Electric Vehicle Early Adoption Incentive (EVEAI), which, taken together, can lower the upfront cost of an EV by up to $40,000.

Range anxiety, the fear of running out of electric power while driving to a recharging station, has also significantly diminished. According to Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat in a recent Written Reply to Parliamentary questions, there are more than 7,100 EV charging points across Singapore today, with more than a third of HDB carparks having charging points installed. The EV Common Charger grant has supported the installation of more than 1,100 EV chargers in Non-Landed Private Residences (NLPR).

Finally, several car brands, such as BMW, BYD, Hyundai, Kia, MG, and Tesla, introduced models in Category A in 2024, to attract new EV buyers with more affordable EVs.

Best Selling EV and Hybrid Brands in Singapore

Brand Electric Hybrid
BMW 674 345
BYD 2184 ~
Hyundai 412 310
Kia 21 485
Nissan 2 614
Mazda 4 403
Mercedes Benz 137 1,790
MG 238 ~
Tesla 661 ~
Toyota 16 2,113
Data from:  New Registration of Cars by Make in 2024 1st Half

We looked through the data of all EVs and hybrids sold and extracted the top 5 brands for both. This shows that BYD is increasing its lead in EVs, while Tesla has now dropped to third behind BMW, which has done well in both the EV and the Hybrid sectors. 

Speaking of hybrids, 6,435 new vehicles were registered in the same period, with Toyota continuing to dominate, though Mercedes-Benz is close behind, and Nissan a distant third.

Singapore’s EV market has entered a golden phase

There are now more brands and types of EVs to choose from, and brands such as BYD are aggressively marketing their products. The greater number of public EV chargers has reduced range anxiety while rebates from EVAAI and EVES (which currently end on 31 December 2024) may make buying an EV now highly attractive.

Feature image: Goran Horvat @ Pixabay

Also Read: Overtaking Tesla: Upcoming EVs That Will Make Everyone Ditch Last-Gen Rides

He thinks people will pay RM2,200+ for a blind date party in KL, so we had to find out why

Recently, we came across a fascinating event known as The Blind Date Party.

Featuring quite the sophisticated website and a curious premise, this quickly became the topic of our office conversations.

Framed to be an exclusive experience, this soiree is aimed to redefine and elevate the conventional blind dating experience.

The kicker? Prices start at RM2,250 and go all the way to RM3,750.

Meet the host

Reaching out to The Blind Date Party, we learnt that the founder is Chinonyerem Ochuko Barrah, a 39-year-old Nigerian entrepreneur.  

With a diploma in Business Information Systems, Chi has always been involved in events, claiming to have to organised high school events and campus concerts in Nigeria.

Chi made his way to Kuala Lumpur through what he calls “a serendipitous blend of ambition and curiosity”.

Here, he immersed into the city’s events scene, playing a part in hosting pool parties at the now-closed The Pool on Jalan Ampang, as well as contributing to the launch of Heli Lounge Bar at Menara KH (now Helipad KL).

“These experiences ignited my passion for creating unforgettable social experiences,” he said.

Today, Chi wears multiple hats as a “social architect, cultural curator, and technology explorer”. While The Blind Date Party is an important project to him, it’s not his only focus. The Nigerian is also building Big Sabi, Inc., a company dedicated to democratising technology access for small businesses in Nigeria.

Chi is currently operating The Blind Date Party as a solopreneur, having funded the project himself. However, he’s seeking like-minded individuals to join him on the journey.

At this point, you might be hoping to put a face to the name. However, Chi said they’ve made a conscious decision to keep the event and its organisers faceless.

He claims that this enhances the mystery and helps attendees focus on the experience, while creating unbiased interactions and maintaining his privacy.

“We believe this faceless approach enhances the unique nature of The Blind Date Party and aligns with our commitment to creating an exceptional, intimate experience for our guests,” he said.

A chance for Malaysians to “date differently”

The inspiration behind The Blind Date Party comes from a desire to revolutionise the social scene.

“In today’s digital age, where people heavily rely on dating apps to find love, The Blind Date Party offers a refreshing return to authentic, face-to-face interactions,” Chi claimed.

Image Credit: The Blind Date Party

To him, this is not just an event but a transformative experience that challenges the norms of “digital superficiality”. The platform seeks to foster genuine conversations and set a new standard for social events worldwide—a fusion of luxury, intrigue, and genuine human connection.

The founder reiterated, “We’re offering Malaysia a chance to date differently, party differently, and connect differently. It’s an escape from routine, an embrace of adventure, and a reimagining of what a social gathering can be.”

“In a world of predictable encounters, we’re creating a space where every interaction holds the potential for something extraordinary.”

But Chi said it’s designed to be more than just a mingling event. Rather, it’s a “carefully orchestrated experience”. One that begins with something called the “Blind Matching Initiative”.

As guests arrive, they are ushered to their initial blind date. The event will incorporate a card-based matching system that facilitates introductions based on different age groups.

Guests receive a unique set of cards that guide them through a series of curated interactions throughout the evening. Through various activities, guests can further immerse in conversations, laughter, and genuine connections.

The goal is to let meaningful relationships flourish organically, whether they be friendships, professional collaborations, or romantic connections.

The founder reminded us though that The Blind Date Party is still in development, and things may be refined or changed down the road.

Still a work in progress

When I first came across The Blind Date Party, it was slated to have its first event on June 1 at Bar Trigona. A few days later, though, I noticed that date had been rescinded on the website.

Calling Bar Trigona, I was told that the event was cancelled.

Chi later told me that it was postponed due to an imbalance in the female to male ratio, as well as other logistical issues.

“We’re currently in talks with several premium venues and aiming to launch in the coming months,” he said. The exact date and location will be announced soon, he added.

For those who may be thinking that perhaps there just weren’t enough participants, Chi claimed that the reception to The Blind Date Party has been overwhelmingly positive.

“We’ve seen a surge of interest from a diverse range of potential attendees, from young professionals to established business leaders,” he stated.

As to the exact number of registrations, he said he’s keeping the information confidential at this stage.

In the bigger picture, his objective is to host The Blind Date Party monthly.

Sounds good, but RM2,000+?

As wonderful as all this sounds, a starting price of RM2,250 still feels pretty steep.  But Chi said the pricing reflects the premium, exclusive nature of The Blind Date Party experience.

The lowest tier is called Stargazer / Image Credit: The Blind Date Party

Justifying the price is a myriad of things like:

  • Access to a “meticulously curated” guest list of like-minded individuals
  • A premium venue at one of Kuala Lumpur’s most prestigious locations
  • Gourmet canapés and a carefully selected menu of fine wines and spirits
  • Live entertainment, including world-class DJs and performers
  • A proprietary matching system and interactive experiences
  • Dedicated concierge service throughout the event

“While the price point is designed to attract discerning guests who value exceptional experiences, we’re also exploring ways to make the event accessible to a broader audience in the future,” Chi assured.

For now, The Blind Date Party is targeting discerning professionals aged 25 to 40 who are seeking more than just a night out. This includes:

  • Young professionals and mid-career individuals from diverse sectors (e.g. tech, finance, creative industries, etc.)
  • Busy professionals who don’t have much time for traditional dating or socialising due to demanding careers
  • Socially active individuals looking for innovative ways to meet people and expand their social circles
  • Individuals with a taste for the finer things in life, appreciating premium experiences, whether in dining, entertainment, or social engagements

Image Credit: The Blind Date Party

Another thing that potential participants may be concerned about is safety. Chi shared that The Blind Date Party will involve rigorous vetting of all attendees, and collaborations with venues that have stringent security measures.

Becoming a place to be

Chi hopes that The Blind Date Party will become the most talked-about social event in Kuala Lumpur, known for its unparalleled ability to foster meaningful connections in a luxurious setting.

With that, he plans to expand to other major cities across Southeast Asia and beyond, creating a global community of individuals who value authentic connections and extraordinary experiences.

The founder said, “We absolutely aim to become a staple in the KL night scene, redefining what it means to socialise in the modern age.”  

But for now, whether or not The Blind Date Party will take off is yet to be seen. While we don’t know how likely Chi is to deliver on his tall orders, we can’t overlook his ambition.

  • Learn more about The Blind Date Party here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.

Also Read: Tech enthusiast favourite Meizu makes a comeback in M’sia with new AI ecosystem & products

Featured Image Credit: Pexels / The Blind Date Party

“Not to become a profit centre”: The real reason behind this new Mont Kiara food hall

In the middle of May, the bustling suburb of Mont Kiara with its tall skyscrapers and walkable neighbourhoods welcomed its first food hall—The Pantry.

It’s one of the few places in the area where you can get cheap eats. And no, we’re not talking about KL’s definition of cheap where a sandwich typically costs over RM15.

You can actually get a full meal for as low as RM3 at The Pantry. And if you opt to get their PRIHATIN set, part of your bill will be used to feed the local underprivileged communities. It’s a win-win situation. 

However, I couldn’t help but wonder if there’s really a need for such a food hall here of all places. Mont Kiara is after all popularly known for being an expensive postcode to live in, and meal prices there often reflect that.

Image Credit: ahmad haadi

But The Pantry isn’t about those who can afford to eat here. It’s meant for those who can’t, and how everyone deserves a decent meal that won’t break the bank.

On a mission to give back to society

A bit of a sceptic, I initially thought The Pantry was a CSR project to earn social points. Don’t get me wrong as I’m not discounting the good that CSR projects bring to beneficiaries. I’m just not confident they’re all done purely in goodwill without some kind of business gain.

But the call I had with Vivek Sasheendran showed me just how passionate The Pantry’s founder was about his mission to give back to society.

“I think food, education, and housing are basic human necessities. And when we neglect these, I think it’s not fair to the masses and workforce,” Vivek confided.

Image Credit: The Pantry

As the Managing Director of VAD Capital (a financial advisory firm) located in Mont Kiara, he noticed that his workers were struggling with the food prices there. Some of them would rather have the office pantry’s Maggi for lunch because it was just too expensive to eat out every day. 

So his solution to that was to open a food hall. 

Located at Plaza Mont Kiara, The Pantry has eight vendors serving a variety of cuisine. There’s a Western and sizzling kitchen, one catering to noodle enthusiasts, a bistro famous for its biryani, Nyonya food, Malay nasi campur, and also Thai food.

Each of these shops curate their own PRIHATIN set meals that cost RM9 and below. RM1 from each meal purchased will be channelled towards the special fund for their charitable causes.

Image Credit: Yayasan Prihatin Nasional

Sharing more on this, Vivek explained that they’re partnering with Yayasan Prihatin Nasional for this initiative. So the funds are collected and passed on to the charity organisation who will provide affordable meals to the needy. This includes the homeless, orphanages, the disabled, refugees, and the senior community.

It’s an act of balancing the scales

The partnership with PRIHATIN happened earlier this year, where The Pantry reached out to them. 

Vivek shared that they’ve been following Prihatin’s charity work for some time now and really admired their on-the-ground effort. Having met the CEO in person, Vivek particularly admired how the former made charity work his personal mission.

Speaking candidly, Vivek told us that he had started an NGO a couple years ago, but running it was a nightmare. A large part of this was due to the difference in operating a business compared to a charity organisation. Hence, he decided to leave it to the professionals this time. 

Image Credit: Ng Eric / Ooi Ling Fan

I couldn’t help but ask Vivek if every single meal is part of the PRIHATIN programme. If the end goal is to give back to the community, this arrangement seemed to make the most sense.

But he replied by explaining that it wouldn’t be the most feasible plan for all parties involved. “We also have to be fair to the vendors, otherwise they will end up with losses,” he said.

In other words, it’s about balancing a decent profit for the vendors while keeping the bigger picture in mind.

“I think profit is inevitable, but that’s not my main focus here. It’s not to become a profit centre. But of course when you have volume, it automatically becomes profitable,” Vivek remarked.

Image Credit: The Pantry

A noble cause to help the masses

Setting up the food hall didn’t come without its own set of challenges, though. 

We’re at a time when diesel subsidies are withdrawn, and the cost of raw materials is going up. It’s a monthly (if not weekly) struggle to keep costs down, but The Pantry’s team try their best to look for alternatives. 

At less than two months old, The Pantry currently caters to up to 1,000 customers on a daily basis. Vivek proudly shared with us that the food hall has become a go-to place for many residents and workers around the area, from B40s to T20s. 

Image Credit: zzurnatasha zulkifli / Nadzirah Asuhah

In terms of what success looks like for the food hall, it still comes back to their mission of giving back to those in need.

“Everyone’s coming here (Mont Kiara) to work because they have to survive. If you help them in the process, I think that’s something you can give yourself a pat on the back [for],” Vivek stated. 

Because even if only half of the people being served actually needed it, then The Pantry is already achieving what it set out to do.

The founder also happily shared that they’re looking to grow and set up 10 more outlets in various states. About seven locations have been found so far. But until those are established, they’ll be focusing on perfecting operations at the Mont Kiara outlet. 

  • Learn more about The Pantry here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.

Also Read: What makes these Intel AI-powered PCs suitable for businesses looking to boost efficiency

Featured Image Credit: The Pantry / Anuarul Azhar

These M’sian health nuts opened a roastery & store in Penang to sell healthy nuts

Jason Lee and Chris Seah, the co-founders of Big Nuts in Penang, come from vastly different backgrounds. 

Jason, a culinary expert, ran a successful Italian restaurant in Penang for three years. Chris, on the other hand, thrived in the corporate world as an Inside Sales Executive at Dell. 

Despite their contrasting paths, both found themselves at a crossroads, yearning for a change. For Jason, a rent increase forced him to close his beloved restaurant. Chris, presented with a Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS), saw an opportunity for a new adventure.

A shared passion, a nutty idea

Fate intervened when Jason and Chris connected, their shared passion for healthy eating paving the way for a new venture. 

Big Nuts wasn’t an overnight epiphany. When they first started in February 2014, it was a home bakery called White Houze. They began with simple products such as carrot cakes, brownies, and lunch boxes.

With hard work, their little venture grew, and they got busy. In the meantime, Jason and Chris’s personal health journeys fueled their initial experimentation with granola and muesli. 

Image Credit: Big Nuts

“16 hours a day, seven days a week, we baked day and night fulfilling orders for nearly two years. We were always improving our baking techniques and recipes, always moving forward almost obsessed with perfecting our craft.”

“The 16-hour days were extremely taxing, so somewhere along [the way] we decided that we should at least eat a little healthier. That was how we started roasting nuts and granola for our own consumption,” they said on their website. 

Witnessing firsthand the positive impact on their digestion and overall well-being, they were inspired to share the benefits of clean eating with others. 

“To our delight, these products were well-received at the morning market where we usually sell, and this marked the beginning of our successful journey of Big Nuts,” Jason and Chris told Vulcan Post.

They started educating their customers, promoting healthier snacking habits, and setting the path for a more mindful approach to nuts.

Nuts for healthy eating

The name “Big Nuts” might initially raise eyebrows, but it is to highlight the substantial big health benefits that nuts offer.  

Image Credit: Big Nuts

While some existing customers were initially puzzled by the changes, the bold name attracted a new, younger demographic interested in their branding.  

“We even placed a giant almond outside our retail store that catches the eye of many passersby,” said the founders. 

Big Nuts’ journey started with granolas and nuts. Their Original Nuts and Cranberry Granola paved the way, followed by a variety of flavours using ingredients like dark chocolate, pure gula melaka, and authentic matcha powder. 

Trail mixes packed with diverse nuts and dried fruits expanded their offerings. 

Popular choices include the Deluxe Mixed Nuts, featuring seven varieties with no fillers, and the Original Nuts & Cranberry Granola, beloved for its clean taste and aromatic oats. 

Image Credit: Big Nuts

Almond Stuffed Dates, a delightful blend of sweet and salty flavours, are another fan favourite.

According to Jason and Chris, in a market saturated with roasted nut options, Big Nuts stands out by prioritising quality above all else. 

Nuts are meticulously prepared, slow roasted to preserve nutrients, and free from added oils. These oven-roasted methods are typically employed by other healthy nuts brands too such as SnackRight and Amazin’ Graze.

Image Credit: Big Nuts

“Back in 2014, when most nuts on the market were prepared with oil roasting, we opted for a clean roasting approach,” they said.

Their innovative FUEL on-the-go (FOTG) line takes it a step further, featuring nuts washed in a special machine for exceptional cleanliness.

Growing with grit

The early days were a whirlwind of work, with little time for breaks or holidays. Recognising the need for balance, Jason and Chris learnt to set boundaries and prioritise their well-being. 

However, their dedication to quality remained unwavering. They meticulously refined their formulas, seeking feedback through customer samples and taste tests at pop-up booths.

As demand soared, Big Nuts adapted. They expanded to a larger facility, increased oven capacity, invested in better packing machinery, and even grew their team.

Image Credit: Big Nuts

“Continuing our focus on growth, we’ve invested in research and development to diversify our product range, established standard operating procedures, and pursued halal certification that affirms the quality and cleanliness of our products.”

“Our approach has always been ‘one step at a time’—expanding only when the business is stable and cash flow is sufficient,” they shared.

Every step was measured, ensuring the business was stable before expanding, a testament to their cautious yet determined approach.

Cleanliness from source to shelf

Sourcing ethical suppliers is paramount for Big Nuts. They carefully inspect their stock upon arrival, looking for mould, rancidity, and overall cleanliness. 

“Regretfully, we do encounter challenges like suppliers mixing shipments with mouldy nuts or selling nuts to us that were past their expiration with the date has been altered. We would swiftly end relationships with unethical suppliers,” they said.

Each batch is meticulously selected before roasting and undergoes multiple filtering stages—all done by hand. 

Image Credit: Big Nuts

Even then, they acknowledge the possibility of a tiny piece of debris slipping through despite their measures.

The production process at Big Nuts is a symphony of dedicated work. The production manager schedules daily operations, ensuring raw materials seamlessly reach the baking area. Here, the baker initiates the filtering and roasting process, meticulously checking each batch to ensure consistent quality. 

Nuts undergo precise baking with exact parameters to achieve perfect results every time. 

Simultaneously, the granola team prepares ingredients, hand-mixing each batch for optimal flavour, similar to the philosophy that smaller portions yield better results in dishes like char kuey teow, as the founders put it.

After cooling, products are weighed, packed, and rigorously inspected before leaving the facility.

Transparency, affordability, and a healthy future

Balancing affordability with quality is a constant challenge, especially in today’s economic climate. 

“In recent years, nut prices in Malaysia have increased significantly, driven by many factors. If we were to mention some of it, increased consumer demand for healthier snacks and diets has played a significant role in driving up costs.”

Image Credit: Big Nuts

“Not only that, increased production and transportation expenses have also contributed to these price hikes,” they noted.

Still, Big Nuts strives to make healthy snacking accessible to everyone. Strategies like bulk buying during price dips, cost-effective packaging, and streamlined production processes help keep prices competitive. 

Direct-to-consumer sales through online platforms and health food stores further minimise distribution expenses.

With a starting capital of RM4,000, Big Nuts has achieved remarkable year-on-year revenue growth of 30% to 40%, all without paid marketing or advertising, the founders claimed. 

“Looking ahead to 2024, we plan to allocate funds towards marketing, confident that this strategic investment will drive even greater revenue growth,” Jason and Chris shared.

They aspire to be the leading provider of quality nuts and healthy snack options, offering complete transparency in pricing and ingredients.  

Opening physical stores in central Malaysia and expanding production capacity are all part of the plan. 

Their ultimate goal is to be recognised as leaders in promoting health and wellness through delicious, nutritious products.

  • You can learn more about Big Nuts here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.

Also Read: What makes these Intel AI-powered PCs suitable for businesses looking to boost efficiency

Featured Image Credit: Big Nuts

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)