Singapore slaps Tesla Model S with $15k Carbon Emissions Surcharge

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The Tesla Model S which attracts tax breaks in several countries has been slapped with a tax surcharge in Singapore. When the news broke, Tesla boss Elon Musk himself called Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to discuss the matter. The Model S – a sedan made by California-based Tesla Motors – is the first tailpipe emission-free car to be penalised this way in the South East Asian country.

Joe Nguyen, 44, registered a used Model S he sourced from Hong Kong just before Chinese New Year. He was shocked that the car – for which he paid close to S$400,000 – was liable for a S$15,000 carbon surcharge.

“Honestly, it’s stupid,” said the senior vice-president with an Internet research firm. “I went back to them (Land Transport Authority, LTA), and they cited a UN emission test regulation. They also factored in carbon emissions at the power station. We don’t apply a carbon penalty to people charging their iPhones, do we?”

In response to queries, an LTA spokesman said: “Based on tests conducted under the UNECE R101 standards, the electric energy consumption of his imported used Tesla car was 444 watt-hour/km.”

To “account for CO2 emissions during the electricity generation process”, the spokesman said, “a grid emission factor of 0.5g/watt-hour was also applied to the electric energy consumption”.

The BMW i3 electric hatchback and i8 plug-in hybrid both qualify for a $30,000 carbon rebate.

The Model S is granted tax breaks in several countries. In Britain, buyers get a £4500 (S$8800) grant, and in the United States, they get a US$7500 (S$10,400) income tax credit. Hong Kong waives registration tax for electric cars, which can be as high as 115 percent of value. In Norway, a Model S gets a tax exemption of around US$135,000.

Read the full story at Torque.

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