Singapore Fines Tesla Model S Owner for Excessive Emissions


Singapore Fines Tesla Model S Owner for Excessive Emissions

Mar 23, 2016

By most commonly held definitions, the Tesla Model S is a zero-emissions vehicle—the all-electric vehicle emits no exhaust while driving. That’s not a convincing argument for Singapore’s Land Transport Authority, however: The agency hit Singapore’s first Tesla Model S owner with a tax of S$15,000 (roughly $10,840), ranking his electric sedan in the dirtiest category of high-pollution automobiles.

Channel NewsAsia brings us the story of Joe Nguyen, who has spent several months trying to import a Model S he purchased in Hong Kong. This being the first time the Land Transport Authority tested a Model S, Mr. Nguyen didn’t know exactly what to expect. But he certainly didn’t anticipate being fined.

“I don’t get it, there are no emissions,” Nguyen said in an interview. “Then they send out the results from VICOM, stating that the car was consuming 444 watt hour per kilometer (Wh/km). These are not specs that I have seen on Tesla’s website, or anywhere else for that matter. And then underneath it, there’s a conversion to CO2 emission.”


Singapore’s government operates a Carbon Emissions-Based Vehicle Scheme (CEVS) to encourage its citizens to buy low-pollution vehicles. The cleaner the vehicle, the larger the tax rebate; the greater the emissions, the heavier the surcharge. A car that emits less than 95 grams CO2 per kilometer driven is eligible for S$30,000 in rebates (roughly $21,680); a vehicle that emits more than 230 grams CO2 per kilometer gets hit with a S$30,000 tax. Fines and rebates are added to or deducted from Singapore’s annual vehicle-registration fees; see the full breakdown here.

The tricky part is how the Land Transport Authority came up with that 444 Wh/km number for the Model S. The Model S P90D carries a 90 kilowatt-hour battery, the largest currently offered by Tesla, and claims a maximum driving range of 270 miles while using 210 watt-hours per kilometer according to Tesla’s official U.S. specs. But Channel NewsAsia spoke with a Land Transport Authority spokesperson who claimed that the Model S in question consumed 444 watt-hours per kilometer under United Nations Economic Commission for Europe R101 testing.

“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 tailpipe emissions. The equivalent CO2 emission of Mr. Nguyen’s car was 222 g/km, which is in the CEVS surcharge band,” the spokesperson told Channel NewsAsia.

The spokesperson added that other electric vehicles have been registered in Singapore, and have received rebates under CEVS.

This being Tesla, of course, Elon Musk is already on the case:

@Astro_Valdric @TeslaMotors We spoke earlier today and he said he would investigate the situation.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 4, 2016

It won’t be the first conversation between Musk and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong: Last month, the Prime Minister visited Silicon Valley and got to ride in a Tesla Model S P90D. We’ll see if Singapore remains the first country to penalize the Model S as a gross polluter.

This story originally appeared on Road & Track.



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