Update: Tesla responds to Singapore’s Model S CO2 emissions test, and could it be as simple as poor math?

If you think it’s difficult to buy a Tesla in Texas due to direct sales law, wait until you learn what consumers in Singapore have to go through to buy a Model S. Singaporean Joe Nguyen reportedly spent months trying to get a licence for his car to be driven on local roads and instead of having access to the Carbon Emissions-based Vehicle Scheme (CEVS) rebate of $15,000 SDG (~$11,000 USD), he was charged a tax of the same amount after the government determined that the car is not “fuel-efficient”.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk spoke directly with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who assured him that he would investigate the issue.

All cars imported into Singapore have to undergo exhaust emissions and fuel efficiency tests, which for electric vehicles, means having to determine energy consumption and assess carbon emissions produced by electricity generation.

The tests are conducted by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), which reportedly uses the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) R101 standards. Surprisingly, they determined that Nguyen’s Model S was consuming 444 Wh/km (710.4 Wh/mile), which is almost twice as much as EPA’S 237.5 Wh/km (380 Wh/mile) result.

Based on the unbelievably high estimated electric energy consumption and Singapore’s grid emission factor, the Model S ends up on the worst side of the global city’s scale for vehicle pollution (C3 band). A LTA spokesperson said to a local news outlet:

“As for all electric vehicles, a grid emission factor of 0.5 g CO2/Wh was also applied to the electric energy consumption. This is to account for CO2 emissions during the electricity generation process, even if there are no tail-pipe emissions. The equivalent CO2 emission of Mr Nguyen’s car was 222g/km, which is in the CEVS surcharge band,”

Consequently, instead of having access to EV incentives, the Model S is slapped with a $15,000 SDG (~$11,000 USD) surcharge. In comparison, the BMW i3 and i8 both qualify for a $30,000 SDG (~$22,000 USD) rebate.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that he spoke directly with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong about the issue:

It took Nguyen more than half a year from the time he imported the car last July to get it approved and registered for use on the road, but it was the first Model S tested by the LTA. Hopefully the process will get easier with time, but it will be interesting to see if anything comes out of the PM’s investigation in the surcharge and emission calculations.

Tesla currently doesn’t have a presence in Singapore, but with Musk and the PM getting involved personally, it could potentially lead to developments in the global city for the automaker.

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