Car Insurance

Will buying an electric car save you money in the future?

As Singapore advances toward greener transportation initiatives, the government will roll out more electric car incentives (including tax breaks) in the coming years. This begs the question: "How much money can you save by switching to an electric car?"

The government plans to phase out internal combustion vehicles – paving the way for greater adoption for electric ones (i.e. EVs) – by 2040. To stay on track with this ambitious target, the 2021 Budget has announced new, upcoming incentives to encourage EVs' adoption among drivers. An example includes the EV Early Adoption Incentive (EEAI), which entitles EV-owners 45% off the Additional Registration Fees (ARF). Future rebates do not replace existing incentivisation efforts; that means drivers who switch to EVs will still enjoy savings under the existing Vehicular Emissions Scheme, which offers drivers up to S$25,000 in rebates. Below, we compare the upfront cost of purchasing an EV versus a petrol car and a hybrid car in Singapore.

Are EVs cheaper than petrol cars and hybrid cars in Singapore?

TypeManufacturerModelCar TypeSelling Price/S$
Pure FuelToyotaHarrierSUV157,888
Pure FuelHondaVezekSUV100,000
Pure FuelToyotaCorolla AltisCoupe99,888
Average119,259
HybridToyotaC-HR HybridSUV111,000
HybridHondaVezel HybridSUV96,000
HybridToyotaPrius HybridCoupe159,888
Average122,296
Electric VehicleMGZS EVSUV119,888
Electric VehicleBYDe6SUV109,888
Electric VehicleRenaultZOECoupe112,999
Average114,258
Information obtained from official retailers’ websites, accurate as of 28 May, 2021. Subject to changes.

In addition to pure-fuel and EVs, hybrid options are available in the market – these are cars that combine a gasoline/diesel engine with an electric motor. Hybrid cars will not be phased out in 2040. Thus, it's necessary to compare EVs' average purchasing price with both hybrid and pure-fuel vehicles. Based on the initial analysis of popular car models across these 3 categories (i.e. pure-fuel, hybrid, and electric) in Singapore, it appears that the purchasing prices are comparable. Regardless, it’s worth noting that EVs hold the most attractive price-point of S$114,258 (S$8,038 cheaper than hybrids).

Can tax rebates offer a significant discount on an EV’s purchase price

TypeToyota Corolla Altis (Fuel)/S$Honda Vezel Hybrid (Hybrid)/S$BYD e6 (Electric)/S$
Purchasing Price99,88896,000109,888
Rebates Under VES015,00025,000
Rebates Under Electric-vehicle Early Adoption Incentive00Up to 20,000
Cost After Rebates99,88881,00064,888
Table showing potential cost rebates for the purchase of an EV, compared to pure-fuel or hybrid options.

The cost differential between EVs and alternatives significantly widens once you factor in the government's incentives. As mentioned above, the EV Early Adoption Incentive (EEAI) allows those who purchase fully electric cars to receive a rebate of up to 45% on the ARF (capped at S$20,000). In Q4 2020, it was also announced that there would be an increase in rebates for cleaner vehicles under the enhanced Vehicular Emissions Scheme (VES). As a result, buyers of new EVs can expect to save up to S$45,000 – meaning that the cost of a BYD e6 could come down to S$64,888, that’s S$35,000 cheaper than the cost of a Toyota Corolla Altis.

Save up to S$1,818.67 annually on fuel costs

Given that the average Singapore car is driven 17,500 km annually and that the standard 95-Octane petrol costs S$2.25 per litre, the Corolla Altis (which gets an average of 15.4 km per litre) will take S$2,402 out of your pocket annually just on refueling. On the other hand, it only costs S$5 to charge the battery of a Nissan Leaf fully – and that's enough for it to run 150 km. The annual cost of recharging, thus, comes up to S$583.33 yearly.

EVs can be cheaper to maintain over the long-run

Unlike internal combustion engine vehicles, EVs are more cost-efficient to maintain as there are fewer moving parts to account for. That means you get to save on the S$621 annual maintenance fee of a typical pure-fuel (or even hybrid) car. Admittedly, EVs are not without expenses – the greatest possible maintenance spending is the battery pack. As with all batteries, it will gradually lose its ability to hold a charge. However, this is not an issue you need to concern yourself with, as estimates predict that the typical lithium-ion electric vehicle battery will be long enough for more than 160,934 km. Given the typical annual mileage of 17,500 km, the battery is going to last you more than 9 years; chances are, you would have already scrapped your car for value at this point.

Save money and positively impact the environment: A win-win situation

The fundamental idea behind making the switch to electric cars is to further the global fight against climate change. However, it doesn't hurt that consumers can end up enjoying significant savings on car ownership as a result – it’s a win-win situation. Although, no matter the type of car that you end up buying, remember to protect your asset with affordable, comprehensive car insurance. For example, DirectAsia’s car insurance plans start from as little as S$0.76/day (that's less than the cost of your daily kopi!) and cover a variety of factors based on your needs. One bright spot for frugal customers is that the first month is free upon sign up. However, this offer is only valid until 14 June 2021. As you shop around for the right car insurance, look for a policy that lets you easily customise benefits based on your needs, offers the flexibility to opt for additional coverage features such as 24-hour breakdown assistance, and ultimately fits around your lifestyle and budget.

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Pooja Khandelwal

Pooja is a Content Marketing Lead at ValueChampion Singapore. She is responsible for planning and executing sponsored content projects and building relationships with media partners. In addition, she evaluates financial products for consumers based on quantitative and qualitative analysis. Pooja holds degrees in Economics and Psychology from Rutgers University. Her prior work experience includes founding and leading a content marketing consultancy and working at eCommerce, AI, and B2B SaaS startups in Singapore. Pooja has contributed insights to Tech in Asia, Yahoo!, and many other publications. Connect with her on LinkedIn to collaborate on content.

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