CEO of Tesla: “Singapore govt is not supportive of electric vehicles”

Tesla's CEO Elon Musk

Elon Reeve Musk FRS co-founder, CEO, and product architect of Tesla said in a tweet that the Singapore government is not supportive of electric vehicles.

Tesla cars are known because they run on sustainable, clean energy sources. Their all-electric vehicles are charged very quickly by ‘Superchargers’.


With Tesla announcing that the following countries above, except for Singapore, were to get Superchargers, a concerned netizen tweeted Elon Musk.

User Cesare Tagliaferri (@taglia) said, “Please do something to allow us in Singapore to get a Tesla! I have been dreaming of one for years…”

In response, Elon Musk replied, “We tried, but Singapore govt is not supportive of electric vehicles”.

Elon Musk could also have been referring to his earlier attempt two years ago to bring in Tesla cars to Singapore. In March 2016, he spoke to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong after IT professional Joe Ngyuen’s Tesla S car was slapped with a $15,000 emissions surcharge even though it was an electric car.

The telephone conversation between PM Lee and Elon Musk happened because after spending months trying to get a licence for his car to be driven and instead of having access to the Carbon Emissions-based Vehicle Scheme (CEVS) rebate of $15,000 SGD, Ngyuen was charged a tax of the same amount after his car was determined as not “fuel-efficient”.

According to Musk’s tweet, he said that PM Lee “would investigate the situation”.

According to answers on popular forum website Quora, user and engineer Philip Remaker  said that there aren’t any Tesla cars in Singapore as, “The regulatory authorities of Singapore do not approve of Tesla’s electric cars”.

He added, “Tesla pulled out of Singapore in 2011 when the Singapore Economic Development Board ruled the Tesla Roadster ineligible for tax breaks for “technical reasons,” rendering it uncompetitive in the Singapore market”.

Another user, Ismail Tan said, “From another perspective. The use of Tesla should reduce emissions. This however is limited by the country’s infrastructure to support that. Singapore for example relies 100% on fossil fuels (oil and gas) for power generation.

Countries like Norway where Tesla cars are common have other sources of renewable energy like hydroelectric from waves. This allows for the entire chain of energy to be free from emissions.”

He concluded that, “The studies done by LTA in Singapore mentioned that the power used to charge a Tesla burns more fuels in their powerplant as compared to a petrol based car. So technically, based on Singapore’s infrastructure, Tesla is really not that green unless Singapore uses other power sources like Nuclear, solar, etc..”

The whole saga led to netizens from two different camps: those in favour of electric cars, and those who thought that electric cars would leave more of a carbon footprint than petrol or diesel run cars.


  1. Previous Tesla experience with SG is slightly more than 6 months, some say 9 months max. They fail badly as no green vehicle tax rebate support and got whack by COE, special tax e-vehicle by wattage of the electrical motor and import tax. Only SG is no garden or green progressive as compared to real deals in Nordic countries like Holland! Things haven’t change nor progress much under dumbo LHL after 7 years to encourage business with Tesla even for the solar panel tech & power storage!

  2. I don’t support electric cars in Singapore either. If the aim is to cut emissions than Singapore still has a long way to go. Countries like Norway is suitable for electric cars cause they have renewable energy like hydroelectricity, solar and wind which makes sense to have electric cars cause its really Zero emissions. They even have fully electric ships.

    Singapore power grid still uses 100% fossil fuels from oil and gas. Latest studies from LTA show you have more emissions from power grid compared to burning petrol in engine.

    We currently only have 1 measly test windmill. Unless we start investing in renewable energy sources like solar and wind to replace part of our energy, the use electric cars is not feasible.