Tesla just started to sell Model 3s in Singapore this year, and the number of new Teslas on the road there has risen from 30 in the first half of 2021 to 487 in the third quarter, according to Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA). Tesla became the country’s sixth-most popular car brand in September.

Tesla growth in Singapore

There were 314 Teslas registered in September, almost on par with Hyundai and trailing top brands Toyota’s 778 and Honda’s 466, Reuters reported.

After launching in Singapore in February, the first Tesla Model 3s were delivered at the end of July. Tesla tried to launch in Singapore in 2016, but it ran into some problems with the Singaporean government.

Singapore is one of the world’s most expensive places to own a car, because new vehicle registration is tightly controlled to manage pollution and traffic. That’s also because the country is small, at 31 miles (50 km) wide and 16.7 miles (27 km) long.

While nearly $150,000 for a Model 3 seems exorbitant to those in the US, where the car costs around $44,000 for a Model 3 Standard Plus Rear-Wheel Drive, it’s all about context.

Singaporean website Value Champion points out:

On average, you should expect to spend in the range of S$99,262 [US $73,844] for a sedan, S$108,300 [US $80,567] for a small SUV/crossover, and S$185,000 [US $137,626] for a luxury car in Singapore.

So the Model 3 is still top dollar in Singapore, but sedans cost nearly $74,000 US.

Also, LTA announced a subsidy of up to S$45,000 (US $33,485) for electric cars in early 2021.

Singapore will phase out gas vehicles and have all vehicles run on cleaner energy by 2040. LTA writes:

Under the Singapore Green Plan 2030 (SGP30), we have a comprehensive EV Roadmap to ramp up our efforts for EV adoption. With the advancement of EV technology, we expect that the cost of buying an EV and ICE vehicle to be similar by the mid-2020s. As the prices of EVs become more attractive, the accessibility of charging infrastructure is vital for encouraging EV adoption. In the EV Roadmap, we have set a target of 60,000 EV charging points by 2030. We will work with the private sectors to achieve 40,000 charging points in public carparks and 20,000 charging points in private premises.

Electrek’s Take

The bottom line is that it’s just plain expensive to own a car – any car – in Singapore. And with the new incentives and quantifiable plans in place to phase out gas cars and switch to entirely electric by 2040, it’s really no wonder that a surge in Tesla interest is happening this year in Singapore. Tesla will also undoubtedly help usher in increased interest in EVs in the country ahead of the 2040 deadline.

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About the Author

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at michelle@9to5mac.com. Check out her personal blog.