Elon Musk, front man at Tesla Motors, spoke with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong immediately after news broke of the $15,000 emissions tax charged to a Model S owner.
Car owner, Joe Ngyuen had recently put a post online voicing his concerns about the charge. He was excited to hear that Musk had contacted Prime Minister Lee. He said:
“I guess he (Musk) met the prime minister a couple of weeks ago. Hopefully, something good comes out of it.”
The Model S receives tax breaks in most countries and other similar vehicles have received up to $30,000 credits in Singapore. In fact, countries attempt to draw buyers to such cars with incentives because of the environmentally friendly factor.
A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister confirmed the conversation and noted that it was being looked into. However, she said that it was too soon to know of any decisions.
PM Lee met with Monk during a recent trip to the U.S. In a Facebook post following the trip he wrote:
“We talked about new technologies and global trends, and Singapore’s Smart Nation ideas. Elon Musk gave me a brief but exhilarating ride in the Tesla Model S P90D.”
Ong Teng Koon, Singapore Parliament member recently explained that the country should emphasize the need for electric vehicles to reduce emissions. He explained:
“From the government’s perspective, this is a rare carbon emissions reduction policy where the abatement cost would be voluntarily borne by consumers… rather than being paid for by the government.”
Musk also tweeted that he had spoken with PM Lee and that Lee “said he would investigate the situation.”
Tesla has also just released a statement to InsideEVs hoping the situation will resolve itself, indicating that a bad understanding of “the maths” is in play.
The Model S that our customer imported into Singapore left our factory in 2014 with energy consumption rated at 181 Wh/km. As the Land Transport Authority has confirmed, this qualifies as the cleanest possible category of car in Singapore and entitles the owner to an incentive rather than a fine.
Model S achieves this result because CO2 emissions in gas-powered cars are far higher than in electric cars. In Singapore, electricity generation releases roughly 0.5kgCO2/kWh. Based on energy consumption in Model S of 181 Wh/km, this results in 90 g CO2/km. Driving an equivalent gas-powered car like the Mercedes S-Class S 500 results in emissions of approximately 200 gCO2/km. And because of oil extraction, distribution, and refining, approximately 25% more has to be added on top of that to calculate the real carbon footprint of gas-powered cars. That means an electric car like the Model S has almost three times lower CO2 per km than an equivalent gas-powered car. Moreover, as Singapore increases the percentage of grid power from solar and wind, the CO2 from electricity drops with each passing year.
We are having cooperative discussions with the LTA to ensure a proper understanding of these issues and to make sure that they are correctly testing our customer’s Model S. Based on the positive nature of those discussions, we are confident that this situation will be resolved soon.