Going Electric Has Become Easier: How Singapore Is Improving EV Adoption for Its Drivers

The recent fighting in Ukraine has spurred massive fluctuations in global oil prices, and a concern for environmental sustainability is driving Southeast Asian motorists to choose greener options for personal transport. Countries across the region, with few exceptions, are encouraging their drivers to go electric, and drivers are following suit. Singapore is a regional leader in the electric vehicle (EV) market, and the government is offering more robust incentives for increased EV adoption. Now, EV owners can find charging stations across the island nation with a few taps on the MyTransport.sg app.

Starting 29 March 2022, the Singapore government is including information for 800 charging stations on the app. Apart from their locations, users can also learn how much it costs to charge at those stations and their power rating. The goal is to unify all the info that is currently scattered across multiple apps and will make it more convenient for EV users, as Transport Minister S. Iswaran explained in a statement the day before (28 March). In the future, he said that more charging stations will be included, as would information on charging station availability.


This is the latest in a string of moves by the government to encourage EV adoption. In March 2021, the government announced new measures to help EV buyers in its annual budget statement. These include zero additional registration fees (ARF) for newly registered EVs bought with government rebates over the 2022-23 period and a review of the road tax framework for EVs. Previous government EV incentive schemes have been providing as much as S$45,000 worth of rebates for those purchasing these vehicles and this ARF cut might make it more affordable to buy them. The government has indicated that these measures can be reviewed based on EV market developments.


These incentives, along with users’ views on the environmental impact of fossil fuel-driven vehicles, have spurred a fourfold jump in EV use from 2020 (0.3% of all new vehicle registrations) to 2021 (1.3%). Recent market research by the BMW group revealed that users in the Southeast Asian region, including Singapore, are indeed eager to adopt EVs in large numbers. With new EV manufacturing plants in neighboring countries potentially adding to the regional vehicle supply, Singapore is poised to grow its EV market in the coming years.

SMRT electric taxi units
SMRT's 15 new electric taxis (Credit: The Straits Times)

According to Today Online, initial interest in EV adoption was there as early as 1994, when an MP asked the then-Environment Minister Mah Bow Tan about the subject. The Minister replied that the government was monitoring developments in the EV sector and would someday consider use in the country. Since then, as the EV sector benefited from innovations such as improved batteries and charging technology, the government has become more proactive in pushing for EV adoption. In 2009, the government created a task force to study EVs and began systems testing two years later. In 2017, a Singapore taxi operator rolled out its first electrically-powered units as BlueSG began piloting a car-sharing scheme involving EVs. Currently, the government plans to have 30,000 charging stations over the coming years, to make Singapore an all-electric vehicle country by 2030. This goal is in line with global climate commitments.

 
  • EV owners using the MyTransport.sg app are now receiving information on the app covering 2,000 charging stations, with location and price info included in the mix.

  • The government says that the upgraded app will obviate the need for checking multiple apps to compare EV charging stations.

  • This is just the latest in a long line of government schemes to encourage EV use in a rapidly growing market toward full EV adoption by 2030.

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