Updated EV-specific power requirements mean several mainstream electric vehicles are now classified as Category A cars. This move is set to make these EVs more financially attractive to the end user.
Currently, cars with power outputs exceeding 130bhp are classified under Category B, regardless of their source of propulsion. This seemingly archaic figure was intially quoted when luxury automakers initially downsized their petrol engines in the face of tightening global emissions.
Back then, Category A COE cars can have an engine capacity rating of up to 1.6 litres, with many luxury marques having models that fit that criteria. The consequence was a period where Category A COE prices were actually higher than their Category B COE counterparts.
EV Differentiation Sorely Needed
Transport Minister S. Iswaran acknowledged that the move comes as the vast majority of mass-market electric cars globally tend to have an output of 110kW (or 147bhp). Raising the literal power ceiling therefore, should translate into greater EV ownership in general.
To give you an idea of just how much cheaper some of the mainstream EVs are set to get, here are a few examples with estimated prices based on the last round of COE bidding!
Kia sells their popular Niro EV in two trim levels. You can have a Long Range 64kWh variant (which will remain in Category B), and a lower-power Category A-friendly Short Range 39.2kWh model. At present, the price difference is roughly $10,000 between the two cars.
When reclassified in May, you can expect the gulf in price between the two cars to widen to the tune of $30,000, with an estimated price of the latter at the $150,000 mark. The Short Range variant will still return a usable 289km of range though - practical enough for the average commuter!
The MG ZS EV produces 141bhp, making it just about eligible for the lower-tier COE category. It's 44.5kWh battery pack is good for a real-world range of about 280km. There's no trim levels to worry about here - there's only one variant available in Singapore.
MG doesn't quote a final sale price inclusive of COE, but some rudimentary maths puts the on-the-road price of the ZS EV at $182,000. If the COE price gulf remains the same come May, expect to be able to purchase one of these for $152,000!
Perhaps the most compelling buy of the lot. The fact that these have been used as taxis and private-hire cars is testimony to their range and reliability. As with the Kia Niro EV, which it shares most of its mechanical bits with, Hyundai offers the Kona in a 'short-range' 39.2kWh model, and a 'long-range' 64kWh mode.
Also as with the Niro EV, it's the 39.2kWh model, with its 134bhp, that will move to Category A. Provided there aren't any major swings in COE prices, expect a Kona EV to set you back $143,888. This makes it perhaps one of the best value EV packages that you can buy in Singapore, costing very similar to its hybrid cousin whilst returning a stout 300km of range!
Will Price Alone Bolster EV Adoption?
Well, no. 80% of EV owners live in private housing, with access to their own chargers. LTA does have plans to properly equip the country with 60,000 charging points by 2030, but this probably isn't enough to convince more to make the switch.As such, plans to make every HDB town 'EV-Ready' have been put in place, with each carpark having at least three charging points by 2025. This initiative will be rolled out over 2,000 HDB carparks with the next four years.
It is the combination of convenient charging and more attractive prices that may ultimately convince even the most die-hard of petrolheads to consider getting rid of their petrol-powered cars for electric replacements!
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