Contributed by Ong Zi Jian
Ever since Tesla started selling its electric cars in Singapore, there has seemed to be a rise in interest in electric vehicles (EVs). As observed from the chart below, electric car ownership has seen a steady increase since 2016.
When we look at the electric car population in Singapore, we see that for the year 2021, the number of electric cars in Singapore increased by more than double since 2020.
|End of Period (Year)||Electric Cars|
There are benefits to using an electric vehicle (EV). The running cost can be lower as fully charging an electric car is cheaper than fully filling the tank of a petrol car.
There is also less maintenance cost as electric vehicles have lesser parts to be replaced. Petrol cars need to have regular oil changes, belt replacements, and filter replacements, which will add up over time. Lastly, electric vehicles are quieter and you can enjoy a peaceful journey while zipping along in Singapore.
However, how much does it cost to own an electric vehicle of your own? Additionally, how much do you need to earn to afford one?
In this article, we clear all your doubts for you.
Table of Contents
- Purchasing Costs
- Running Costs
- Average Cost of Owning A Tesla Model 3 in Singapore
- Other Electric Vehicle Option
|Category||For COEs obtained before the May 2022 1st COE bidding exercise:||For COEs obtained from the May 2022 1st COE bidding exercise onwards:|
|A||Car with engine capacity up to 1,600cc and Maximum Power Output up to 97kW (130bhp)|
|B||Car with engine capacity above 1,600cc or Maximum Power Output above 97kW (130bhp)|
The COE incurred by electric vehicles is similar to petrol vehicles. Category A COE is cheaper and the requirement for the maximum power output is to be no more than 110Kw (147bhp). For electric cars that do not fit this category, your COE options will fall into category B.
Electric vehicles in Singapore get to enjoy attractive rebates. First up is the Vehicle Emission Scheme (VES). This scheme takes into account the number of harmful emissions the vehicle is producing and rewards vehicles that have low emissions.
|VES Rebate Band||Current Rebate (S$)|
The highest tier, A1, will give you rebates of S$25,000. Most if not all electric vehicles will qualify for this tier and will be able to receive the full S$25,000.
From 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2023, the ARF floor will be reduced from S$5,000 to S$0, which means that more fully electric vehicles will get to enjoy the maximum S$20,000 EEAI rebate.
What this translates to is that on average, most electric vehicles will be able to receive a rebate of S$25,000 + S$20,000 = S$45,000
Additional Registration Fee (ARF)
ARF is a tax imposed when you register a vehicle. It is calculated based on a percentage of the Open Market Value (OMV) of the vehicle. At different OMV amounts, the percentage will differ as seen in the table below.
|Vehicle Open Market Value (OMV)||ARF rate (% of OMV to pay)|
|Next S$30,000 (i.e. $20,001 to $50,000)||140%|
|Next $30,000 (i.e. 50,001 to $80,000)||180%|
|Above $80,000 (i.e. $80,001 and above)||220%|
For example, if your vehicle’s OMV is 30,000, your ARF payable will be S$20,000 + S$10,000 X 140% = S$34,000. The first S$20,000 will be a full S$20,000 and the next amount before S$50,000 will be multiplied by 140%.
Other costs like custom duty, GST and registration fees will be incurred as well. The custom duty is 20% of the vehicle’s OMV, while GST is 7% of the vehicle OMV + custom duty. The registration fee is S$220.
It is cheaper to get an electric vehicle from a parallel importer as opposed to getting it from an authorised dealer. However, we recommend that you be cautious when finding a parallel importer for your electric vehicle. This is due to the small electric vehicle market in Singapore as of now and the difficulties in finding replacement parts should your electric vehicle require them. It will be safer to have an authorised dealer handle such issues for you.
Electricity cost is relatively cheap compared to petrol. SP group’s car charging station is charging S$0.4746 per kWh for fast charging at 50kW and S$0.4156 per kWh for normal charging at 43kW. BlueSG on the other hand charges S$1 per hour for the first 3 hours and S$2 per hour after the initial 3 hours. Shell also offers EV charging but at a slightly higher price of S$0.55 per kWh.
If you have a Tesla Model 3 RWD with a 60kWh battery, this will give you a range of 491km. Using Singapore’s average yearly mileage of 12,000km and SP’s fast charging, it will cost you S$820.11 yearly in electricity fees.
The same mileage for a reasonably economical car (Toyota Corolla) would cost S$2357.04 at S$3.22 per litre (price at the time of writing) of 95 petrol.
Both Tesla and Toyota’s figure is obtained from LTA’s fuel cost calculator and we can see that the cost of petrol for a family sedan is more than double of a sporty electric car.
|Charging Station||Cost||Power||Full charge (Tesla Model 3 60kWh)||10 Full Charges|
|SP fast charging||S$0.4746/kWh||50kW||S$28.476||S$284.76|
|SP normal charging||S$0.4156/kWh||43kW||S$24.936||S$249.36|
|BlueSG||S$1/hour & S$2/hour after initial 3 hours||3.7kW||S$29.43 (at 16.21 hours)||S$294.30|
|Charge+ Fast Charging||S$0.5283/kW||120kW DC||S$31.698||S$316.98|
The table above shows the various cost of electric vehicle charging in Singapore. The cheapest is SP normal charging, coming in at S$0.4156/kWh.
The charging speed will vary depending on the power of the charger and how much current you car can accommodate. Check whether the charger is AC or DC and which charging method your car uses.
It is also important to find out whether there is a charger near your house, else you will spend some time at a charger further from your home.
Road tax is calculated based on the power output of electric vehicles. Larger vehicles will be subjected to paying more road tax. However, LTA has merged the road tax bracket for 30 - 90kW and 90 - 230kW, meaning that more powerful cars under 230kW will get to enjoy road tax savings from 1 January 2022.
|Cars||Hyundai Konda||Kia Niro||Nissan Leaf||MG ZS|
|Power Rating (kW)||150||150||110||105|
|Road Tax Payable from 1 Jan 2022||S$1,095||S$1,095||S$860||S$831|
The road tax calculation is solely based on the power output of the electric vehicle. Therefore, you will notice that the Hyundai Konda and Kia Niro having the same power output will share the same road tax.
|Power Rating (PR) in kW||6-Monthly Road Tax|
|PR ≤ 7.5||$200 x 0.782|
|7.5 < PR ≤ 30||[$200 + $2(PR – 7.5)] x 0.782|
|30 < PR ≤ 230||[$250 + $3.75(PR – 30)] x 0.782|
|PR > 230||[$1,525 + $10(PR – 230)] x 0.782|
The road tax will be calculated using the formula above. Most vehicles will fall under the 30 < PR ≤ 230 category and the corresponding calculation will be used to calculate the road tax.
For electric vehicles registered after 1 January 2021, there will be an annual Additional Flat Component (AFC) of $700.
There are not a lot of insurance companies that will insure electric vehicles. Possible reasons could include the smaller number of electric vehicles in comparison to petrol vehicles. One of the most prominent insurers for electric vehicles would be Income Electric Car Insurance.
This insurance plan has two ways of calculating premiums. You could either pay for the premium per kilometre travelled or get a yearly premium.
To compare the premium against a few electric vehicles, we will be using the average mileage in Singapore of 12,000km to compare the few popular electric vehicles.
|Vehicle||Base Premium (S$)||Mileage (Mileage X Premium) (S$)|
|Tesla Model 3 Standard Plus (239kW)||0.21||2,520|
|Nissan Leaf Electric (110kW)||0.09||1,080|
|MG ZS Electric (105kW)||0.12||1,440|
The premiums in the table above are the base premiums Income offers for their per km premium. We are unable to show the annual premiums as those are by enquiry only. It is worth noting that other factors may influence the premium price, like driving history and driving age.
An analysis of the premiums offered by Income against the price and vehicle power output gave us some unique insight. First of all, the Tesla Model 3 is an anomaly, given that the premium is one of the highest, yet not the most expensive or most powerful.
When comparing the relationship between premium prices and vehicle prices, we find that there is a weak correlation between premium prices and vehicle prices.
When comparing the relationship between premium price and power output, there is evidently a strong correlation. We can interpret that in general, the bigger your power output, the higher the premium you will stand to pay.
But other factors do come into play.
For example, the Nissan Leaf’s premium is 0.09/km while the MG ZS is 0.12/km. On paper, the Leaf has a higher displacement and price as compared to ZS. One possible factor to consider is safety. The leaf’s score on the Europe NCAP Test is 5 stars , while the ZS only scores 3 stars.
Lastly, some possible explanation for Tesla’s high insurance cost could be that their cars have more tech and expensive materials, thus leading to higher repair costs. Liberty Insurance offers insurance for Tesla and is the one that Tesla recommends as well.
Other than the Electric Car Insurance, Income’s Drivo Car Insurance also covers electric cars.
|Electric Vehicle||Price (S$)||Premium (S$)||Similar Petrol/Hybrid Car||Price (S$)||Premium (S$)||Drvio Classic (S$)|
|Nissan Leaf Electric (110kW)||154,800||3,067.64||Honda Freed||150,000||3,080.52||2,206.13|
|MG ZS Electric (105kW)||135,888||3,648.88||MG HS||149,888||2657.28||1,903.03|
|Hyundai Ioniq||153,888||3,439.42||Kia Niro (Hybrid)||156,999||2,737.01||1,960.11|
|Audi e-Tron (265kW)||496,290||5,046.36||Audi Q8||460,779||6,582.2||4,713.87|
|Honda E electric (113kW)||197,000||3,698.21||Honda CR-V||192,999||2,225.44||1,593.75|
|Mini Level 1||203,888||4,645.31||Mini Clubman||214,888||2,657.58||1,903.03|
|BYD e6 60kW||143,888||3,055.88||Opel Mokka||143,500||3,467.15||2,483.02|
Based on 30 year old married male, 2+ years driving experience and no claims in the last 3 years
Looking at the table above, we can get a better comparison of the premium prices for both electric vehicles and petrol counterparts. For this comparison, we choose cars that are of the same brand or country, similar price and to a certain extent, similar types of vehicles.
What we observed is that some electric vehicles are more expensive than their petrol equivalence, while some pairs tell the opposite story. For example, Mini Level 1 is less expensive than the Clubman, but its premium is nearly double of the Clubman. The MG ZS and HS also suffer a similar fate as the Mini.
|Vehicle||Price (S$)||Premium (S$)||Collision Only (S$)||Similar Petrol/Hybrid Car||Price (S$)||Premium (S$)||Collision Only (S$)|
|Nissan Leaf Electric (110kW)||154,800||3,541.80||2,524.96||Honda Freed||150,000||2,219.34||1,797.14|
|MG ZS Electric (105kW)||135,888||4,341.04||3,001.20||MG HS||149,888||3,797.74||2,813.25|
|Hyundai Ioniq||153,888||3,598.97||2,896.15||Kia Niro (Hybrid)||156,999||3,268.99||2,765.17|
|Audi e-Tron (265kW)||496,290||4,859.68||3,197.96||Audi Q8||460,779||4,358.62||2,911.30|
|Honda E Electric (113kW)||197,000||-||-||Honda CR-V||192,999||-||-|
|Mini Level 1||203,888||3,032.51||2,179.46||Mini Clubman||214,888||2,211.07||1,658.55|
|BYD e6 60kW||143,888||-||-||Opel Mokka||143,500||-||-|
Based on 30 year old married male accountant, 8 years driving experience and no claims in the last 3 years
The table above shows AIG Car Insurance in similar comparison. As you can see, the premium for electric vehicles is noticeably higher than the premium for a similar petrol/hybrid vehicle.
When we run an average, there is a 26.5270% increase in electric vehicle premium for AIG Car Insurance. For Income Car Insurance, the average is 16.3158%. When we put both AIG and Income together, we are looking at a 25.0813% increase in electric vehicle premium. Do note that there will be some variances as some premiums are drastically higher while some are drastically lower.
Allianz Electric Motor Protect is also another electric car insurance provider. No information on their price is provided on their website. However, inferring from their Motor Protect insurance, they have the second cheapest car insurance in Singapore and their coverage for the Electric Motor Protect is similar to Motor Protect.
As electric vehicles are only in Singapore for a short period of time, there hasn't been enough time to pass for us to observe their true depreciation. We compared a small sample of used electric vehicles and similar petrol vehicles to see the depreciation in the last few years.
|Average Percentage Difference Between New and Used||Electric Vehicles||Petrol/Hybrid Vehicles|
From the available data we can gather, the depreciation of electrical vehicles is similar to petrol/hybrid vehicles that are less than 1 year old (2022).
However, for those registered in 2021, we see that the difference is getting bigger. Electric vehicles after 1 year are depreciating less than petrol/hybrid vehicles.
Possible explanations could be that their mileage is lower in general and there is a high demand for Teslas as of now.
There is lesser maintenance work to do for an electric vehicle. Items like brake fluid, hydraulics, tyres, and wiper checks are what is needed to be done. This is estimated at around S$1,000 per year. They may fluctuate as there could be more or less to be replaced or repaired.
Electric vehicle parts will be more expensive due to their rarity as compared to normal petrol cars.
Average Cost of Owning a Tesla Model 3 in Singapore
|COE||S$95,889 (Category B COE)|
|ARF||S$33,992 (After VEs & EEAI rebates)|
At this price, you are looking at a loan of 60% of the price with COE. That works out to S$126,206. If you are getting a loan from DBS, the interest rate will be 2.78%. The monthly instalment will cost you S$1795/month and the loan will run for 7 years.
According to the DBS loan calculator, you will be able to loan enough for Tesla if your income is at least S$3,000. The monthly repayment will sit at S$1,800 for a period of 7 years if you do not have any outstanding loans. However, having a loan greater than 50% of your monthly income is very high.
After securing the loan, you will need to come up with the remainder of S$141,671.
|Maintenance (Tires, brake fluid, Air filter, wiper, air-con)||S$1,000/yr (estimated)|
With a running cost of S$7,277.11 a year, you are looking at averaging another S$606.42 per month to keep your car running.
With a S$1,795 repayment and S$606.42 running cost, this works out to S$2,401.42 a month. This calculation is a baseline calculation. There may be situations where your loan interest or insurance premium is higher and another unforeseen cost is incurred.
Therefore, you will need more than S$4,000 monthly salary to comfortably own a Tesla Model 3. If you have other loan repayments like a housing loan, you will need a much higher salary to afford an EV on top of your house.
Other Electric Vehicle Options
If you are looking for the cheapest electric vehicle, you can get a fully electric delivery van for as low as S$68,999 (without COE). Limiting to standard passenger vehicles, MG ZS Electric is one of the cheapest electric vehicles available in Singapore at S$135,888.
MG ZS is much more affordable than Tesla Model 3 due in part to the lower COE category and road tax.
|COE||S$68,001 (Category A COE)|
|ARF||S$0 (After VES & EEAI rebates)|
For the MG ZS, you can take a higher loan compared to the Tesla Model 3. The maximum loan amount is S$81,532. With a loan interest rate of 2.78% on the DBS Car Loan and a 7-year loan term, you will be looking at paying S$1,160/month.
At that repayment level, DBS will loan you the S$81,532 if your monthly income is at least S$1,935.
The upfront cash would be S$54,356. However, if you choose to loan only S$60,000, you will be paying S$75,888 upfront and 7-year loan repayment of S$854 per month at 2.78% interest.
The running cost is similar to the Tesla Model 3, but with cheaper road tax and insurance, you will be looking to pay around S$2000 less per year for your MG ZS.
For the most expensive electric cars, you have to look at the Germans. Porsche and Audi are duking it out with the Porsche Taycan Electric and Audi e-Tron. Porsche comes out on top with the Porsche Taycan Turbo S 93.4 kWh (A). This car will cost you S$893,647.
|COE||S$95,889 (Category B COE)|
A 60% loan for a 7 year loan period at 2.78% will cost you S$7,626 per month. The upfront cost will be S$357,458. Running costs would be higher as well since the Taycan is a high-performance vehicle. The road tax alone is around the same as the total running cost of a Tesla Model 3.
Second-Hand Electric Vehicle
Second hand electric vehicles are out in the market, however, they are relatively new. This means that they are still quite expensive to purchase and you will typically find them only around a year old and around 10 - 20% cheaper than the list price.
|Car||Make||Registration Year||Price (S$)||Mileage|
|Audi RS e-tron GT Electric Quattro||Audi||2022||588,888||2,800|
|Audi RS e-tron GT Electric Quattro||Audi||2021||578,000||8,888|
|Honda E Electric Advance||Honda||2022||168,988||13|
|Honda E Electric Advance||Honda||2022||168,988||18|
|Honda E Electric Advance||Honda||2022||168,988||66|
|Honda E Electric Advance||Honda||2021||194,988||88|
|Honda E Electric Advance||Honda||2021||167,800||25|
The table above is retrieved from listings on sgCarMart. The registration year of the electric vehicles is mostly in 2021 and 2022. This means that they are around 1 to less than 1 year old.
There are some good deals in those registered in 2021. Those that have low mileage, are in good condition and are priced at 15 - 20% less than list price are definitely good deals to look out for.
The table below shows the current selection of electric vehicles that are popular in Singapore.
|Vehicle||Price (S$)||COE Category||Rebates (S$)|
|Tesla Model 3 Standard Plus (239kW)||210,344||B||45,000|
|Nissan Leaf Electric (110kW)||154,800||A||45,000|
|MG ZS Electric (105kW)||135,888||A||42,195|
|Audi e-tron Electric 50 Quattro 71 kWh (A)||344,000||B||25,000|
|Polestar 2 Electric Standard Range Single Motor 69 kWh (A)||221,000||B||45,000|
|Mini Level 1||203,888||B||25,000|
|BYD e6 71.7 kWh (A)||143,888||A||11,520|
Electric vehicles do have very attractive rebates. However, from what we have gathered, electric vehicles are still expensive and car buyers need to work out the numbers before making a purchase.
The prices that you see in the table above are similar to those you expect to see in petrol/hybrid vehicles.
The examples given throughout the article are of the lowest spec (except for the Porsche Taycan) and the insurance and loans are in the best-case scenario.
In the real world, you may find yourself incurring higher insurance premiums due to factors like your driving history. The loan amounts are also up to the bank's discretion. If your credit score is not good enough, you may not get the full loan amount.
All these factors will increase the cost of your electric vehicle and should be factored in when you are crunching the numbers for a new electric car.
Make sure you can afford the initial payments and have a little saved in the event of a big repair.
Look at your car loan payments and your other loans, they should not exceed 55% of your income. If it does, maybe the electric vehicle you are considering is not a good purchase for you.
To find out the relationship between insurance premium and price, we used Income’s Electric Car Insurance rate and the list price to find out the relationship. We ran a simple linear regression to identify whether there is a correlation between premium and price, which we then conclude with reasons explaining why we got the observation.
The insurance comparisons are done by finding petrol/hybrid vehicles that are the most similar to the electric vehicles. This is to eliminate factors like brand, price and to a certain extent, car type.
The depreciation is found by scouring sgCarMart to find prices of used electric vehicles and petrol/hybrid vehicles. We then compared the difference between the listed price and used price by year and found the average of the difference.
The loans and minimum income requirements were found using DBS’s car instalment calculator. We took 60% of the price and run it through the calculator to work out the repayment amount. We used a 7-year term and 2.78% as a uniform setting since most people will fall into the category. The minimum income is derived from DBS’s car loan calculator and adjusted the income till we reach the loan repayment amount.
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