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Singapore Claims Teslas Are ‘Lifestyle' Cars, Not Environmentally Conscious EVs

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【Summary】Singapore, one of the few locations in the world that believes climate change is just as important as military defense, would rather see people in the city-state use mass transit than purchase a Tesla.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Aug 25, 2019 6:00 AM PT
Singapore Claims Teslas Are ‘Lifestyle' Cars, Not Environmentally Conscious EVs

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration claims that July 2019 was the hottest month on record. The global temperature for last month was 62.13 degrees Fahrenheit, which was 1.71 degrees higher than the average for the 20th century. Global warming is real, last month's figures prove that, and electric cars are seen as a way of curbing just how quickly the Earth heats up. While the world loves Tesla, Singapore isn't crazy about Elon Musk's electric cars.

Lifestyle Or Actually Efficient?

Singapore, which takes climate change incredibly seriously, would rather see the people living in the city-state take mass transit than drive around in a Tesla, reports Bloomberg. Masagos Zulkifli, minister for environment and water resources, told the outlet that Singapore is prioritizing the use of its trains and buses instead of purchasing Teslas.

"What Elon Musk wants to produce is a lifestyle," said Zulkifli when asked about Musk's previous comments about how Singapore, a country he criticized for being slow to adopt electric cars, "has been unwelcome." "We are not interested in a lifestyle. We are interested in proper solutions that will address climate problems."

Last May, Tesla's CEO put out a tweet stating that the electric automaker had attempted to bring Teslas to Singapore, but wasn't successful because the city-state continued to not support electric cars. What Musk overlooked, is the fact that Singapore has some of the strictest automobile ownership laws in the world. The government in the city-state heavily restricts car ownership, requiring owners to apply for ownership permits, pay expensive taxes, and fork over large funds for tolls.

Why Singapore Is Tricky

Instead of EVs , Singapore has moved toward a large amount of trains and buses that, as Bloomberg points out, cover quite a lot of the island's roads. Mass transit is the future of the city-state, as it wants the majority of commutes on the island to take less than 45 minutes by 2040. Still, despite the interest in mass transit, Zulkifli believes that an all-electric future could be possible.

"If there's any country which can convert from petrol cars to 100 percent EVs, it will be Singapore," he said. Zulkifli did admit that it would be difficult to have a good charging infrastructure on the island, as 85 percent of the population lives in government-supported housing. "Just choosing a parking spot is already problematic," he said. "And now you want to say who gets the charging point. We do not have the solution yet."

Beyond mass transit and fully electric cars, Zulkifli believes that hydrogen is actually a better long-term option. Mining special materials for the production of electric cars creates a large carbon footprint, which also occurs when batteries and precious materials need to be disposed.

Electric buses and self-driving taxis may be in Singapore's future, but electric vehicles are still a stretch.

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