SINGAPORE (June 18): Elon Musk, the American billionaire entrepreneur who is revolutionising transport in space and on the ground through Space X and Tesla respectively, caused a minor stir here recently. In a tweet on May 26, Musk effectively accused Singapore of being unsupportive of electric vehicles (EVs). The Straits Times then published an open letter by its senior transport correspondent in defence, calling out Tesla for relying on subsidies and writing that the company should make its cars cheaper. “Even your latest Model 3 — supposedly a more affordable model — is beyond the budget of most non-millionaires after options are added,” wrote Christopher Tan on June 2.
Musk later countered in a tweet: “The results speak for themselves. Singapore is a very prosperous city and yet has very few electric cars.” He also added: “Why have policies that promote a combustion vehicle fleet in a dense city environment?”
The tweetstorm has thrown the spotlight on a seeming paradox. As at April 30, there were 353 EVs on the roads in Singapore, out of a total of 611,939 vehicles. That is barely 0.06% of the total vehicle population. Only seven of those EVs are privately owned cars. And, three of those are Tesla Model S. Yet, the 700 sq km city state has committed itself to sustainable development, declared 2018 as the year for “climate action”, and billed itself as a test bed for technology and solutions to address urban issues of congestion and pollution, among other things... (Click here to read the full story)