Ten years ago, the idea of owning an EV (electric vehicle) was a whimsical one. The only EVs people knew about were golf carts and fun karts, not automobiles. Besides, charging stations were an anomaly – you were more likely to discover buried treasure.
There wasn’t much choice when it came to electric models either. The Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Renault Fluence and even Nissan Leaf were only available to companies that registered them under a test-bedding scheme.
Fast-forward to 2022 and owning an EV is now a realistic proposition. Apart from an ever-growing variety of models to choose from, the charging network continues to expand, making it easier for drivers to juice up their cars. If all goes well, there will be 60,000 charging points islandwide by 2030.
Speaking of which, one kWh costs a lot less than a litre of petrol. With oil prices expected to rise further, nobody can realistically expect petrol to become cheaper in the future.
Now, couple that with the fact that EVs are quieter, boast instant performance and emit no tailpipe emissions, is it time to make the switch from internal combustion engine (ICE) to EV?
If your answer is “yes”, great! But as with any large purchase, there are always factors to consider first.
CHARGING MUST FIT YOUR LIFESTYLE
Finding a charging point is no longer akin to finding a needle in a haystack, especially if you live in landed property. The convenience of being able plug in your car as needed (or whenever you want) is second to none.
However, what most drivers may not realise is that where you live can determine your charging capacity. Depending on the existing electrical hardware supplying power to your estate, it could be relatively low. And that means longer charging times.
Although landed property makes EV ownership easier, it’s not a requirement per se. Most of us live in HDB flats, but that doesn’t mean you can’t own an EV.
Think about places you drive to on a regular basis. Is there a particular shopping mall or building that you visit weekly? Does your workplace have charging points or nearby chargers? Where do your kids have their enrichment activities?
If one or more of those places you frequent has charging stations, then charging your EV will be very convenient.
The key is to ensure that charging dovetails with your lifestyle. Making an extra trip somewhere out of the way to charge your car may work for a month or two. After that, it will feel like a chore.
Unlike ICE cars, the road tax for EVs is calculated using a formula that’s based on total power output (kW). The greater the output, the higher the road tax. But generally speaking, an EV model attracts more road tax than its ICE counterpart.
Using Onemotoring’s road tax calculator, the Hyundai IONIQ Electric has a yearly road tax of $1243.
Electric cars are also subject to a yearly additional charge of $400 (rising to $700 from 1 Jan 2023), because they do not pay fuel excise duties. Yes, everyone is wondering why EVs owners are subject to this, but this is a topic for another day.
In total, the IONIQ Electric will cost you $1643 in road tax every year, while the IONIQ Hybrid owner only has to fork out $735.
Opt for a high-performance model like the Porsche Taycan Turbo S and LTA will thank you for contributing well over $7k a year.
The road tax formula for EVs can be found at this link.
EVs are more expensive than equivalent ICE models because of their batteries, which make up the bulk of their cost. For instance, the Hyundai IONIQ Hybrid starts from $124,999, while the IONIQ Electric is priced from $166,888.
Meanwhile, the Kia Niro Hybrid EX is going for $125,999. The Niro EV Short Range, on the other hand, starts from $176,999.
(Prices are correct at time of writing.)
Since EVs cost more than ICE models, their insurance premiums are correspondingly higher as well.
Last year, our sister title sgCarMart compared the cost of insuring a MINI Electric versus a Cooper S 3-Door and Cooper 3-Door. At $1964.79, comprehensive insurance for the Electric model was the most expensive of the three.
On a positive note, the figure was just over $200 more than the premium for the Cooper S, which has comparable performance.
SHOULD YOU STILL BUY AN EV?
This article’s intent is to highlight the realities of owning an electric car today. It is not meant to discourage potential owners.
EVs cost a lot, but they also offer several advantages. Charging takes longer, but costs less than pumping petrol. An electric car’s refinement and smooth, instantaneous performance are second to none. Plus, without tailpipe emissions, you can idle with the air-con on without getting fined.
Maintaining an EV is also cheaper as there are no oil changes or engine components to replace. Besides, electric motors will easily outlast the rest of the car. The items that need to be periodically checked include tyres, brakes, suspension components and air-conditioning.
Every driver has different needs. If you have decided that going electric is for you after considering these and other factors, take the plunge and plug in.
LTA details expansion measures for EV charging points in Singapore