KEY POINTS

  • Singapore plans to phase out gas and diesel vehicles by 2040 to combat climate change, and is promoting electric cars as an alternative
  • Singapore has been criticized for being slow to adopt electric vehicles
  • The country has also promoted solar energy and introduced a carbon tax to fight global warming

Singapore is promoting electric vehicles in its new fiscal budget, as the country plans to phase out gas and diesel vehicles in the country by 2040. The low-lying island nation faces an environmental crisis due to rising sea levels caused by climate change. 

"Our vision is to phase out ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles and have all vehicles run on cleaner energy by 2040," Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced in February. The country will have rebates on electric vehicle purchases up to S$20,000 ($14,362) and will increase the number of charging stations nationally from about 1,600 to 28,000 by 2030.

“We are placing a significant bet on EVs, and leaning policy in that direction because it is the most promising technology,” Heng added.

Singapore has been criticized for its slow adoption of electric and hybrid cars. 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in May 2018 that Singapore’s government “is not supportive of electric vehicles,” with Tesla cars not sold in the country. Singapore has strict rules and regulations on vehicle ownership, making automobiles much more expensive than in other international markets, such as the U.S.

“Singapore is a very prosperous city and yet has very few electric cars,” Musk noted.

Singapore’s Environment Minister, Masagos Zulkifli, shot back at Musk in August.

“What Elon Musk wants to produce is a lifestyle,” Zulkifli said in response to Musk’s comments. “We are not interested in a lifestyle. We are interested in proper solutions that will address climate problems.”

Zulkifli has said that Singapore should prioritize public transportation such as trains and buses to cut greenhouse gases. The government is also promoting solar energy and has introduced a carbon tax.