Singapore's first Tesla Model S owner hit with $11,000 fine for excessive emissions

By Shawn Knight · 71 replies
Mar 10, 2016
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  1. Tesla owners in the US are eligible for various incentives for purchasing an electric vehicle. It's quite the opposite situation in Singapore, however, as one local recently found out.

    Joe Nguyen has spent the past several months trying to import the Tesla Model S he purchased in Hong Kong to his home country. Nguyen anticipating receiving a rebate of S$15,000 (~$11,000) as the car has no exhaust pipe and thus, no emissions. Instead, he was hit with a fine of S$15,000 courtesy of the nation's Carbon Emissions Vehicle Scheme (CEVS).

    A spokesperson for the Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA) told Channel NewsAsia that the Model S in question was tested under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) R101 standards. That test determined that the Tesla vehicle used 444 watt-hours per kilometer driven.

    The LTA spokesperson provided the publication with the following explanation.

    "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 tail-pipe emissions. The equivalent CO2 emission of Mr Nguyen’s car was 222g/km, which is in the CEVS surcharge band."

    Or in other words, they're factoring upstream emissions – the environmental impact of producing the electricity to power the car – into the equation. Autoblog also points out that the top-of-the-line Tesla Model S P90D is rated to consume around 210 watt-hours per kilometer driven.

    Permalink to story.

  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,660   +1,948

    I haven't read anything this idi0tic for a long time...

    LTA = Lunatics Association.

    Someone should put them on a $10,000 band for all the CO2 they generate farting.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
    Evernessince likes this.
  3. MannerMauler

    MannerMauler TS Addict Posts: 182   +44

    Wow, never thought I'd see something like this happen. I'm not some tree hugging hippy but I think that electric cars are just a way for people to feel better about themselves. This might kick some sense into people and make them realize that they're not really preventing pollution unless they're getting power from green power plants, such as nuclear (not totally sure if they're green based on what happens because of meltdowns), solar, or hydro power plants.
    treeski likes this.
  4. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,886   +1,222

    Electric cars are different... quieter, no transmission so there's no gear shifting, full power at any speed, no oil changes, limited range. They are not just for people trying to be 'green' they offer a lot otherwise - especially a Tesla.

    When the Volt came out they gave it's MPG in terms of power used to produce the electricity and it was at like 200 MPG or something crazy like that. Sure there are carbon emissions to making electricity, but power plants are very efficient compared to a small car engine so the emmission is far less.

    This seems like the govt just sticking it to him because they can.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,255   +454

    I don't know about those numbers, I have no way to prove one way or another but the concept makes sense. A lot of place still burn coal to generate electricity to power businesses and homes. If that is equivalent emissions to generate the electricity to charge that car then yeah... this seems fair. A lot of the whole "green" movement with electric cars tends to forget where the electricity comes from in the first place. This would vary greatly as some places generate it with hydroelectric dams, nuclear, or solar all of which are mostly considered "green".
    Adhmuz and JPSika08 like this.
  6. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,471   +375

    That blows for the new Tesla owner, the fact that there was no warning about this is equally as damning. However, I do understand why an agency would use upstream emissions to decide the "actual impact" of an electric car... Because an electric car is only as "green" as where it gets it's charge from.
    Adhmuz, Darth Shiv and fps4ever like this.
  7. Scshadow

    Scshadow TS Evangelist Posts: 510   +152

    Then charge the electric company the fine for that electricity. The electric company chose the method they used to generate power, shouldn't they pay the emissions fine? Thats BS.
    Tanstar, wiyosaya and Tibeardius like this.
  8. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    If he can afford a Tesla S then he can afford that little fine.
  9. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,318   +1,967

    Obviously just another means to generate revenue for the government, but conversely, would they try to sur-charge him if he used solar cells to charge the car? Oh yes, they have to burn fuel to melt the metals for the framework and yes, probably measure the farts per meter of the workmen on the room installing it. Guess he's better off buying a Diesel VW after all!
  10. 9Nails

    9Nails TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,215   +177

    This is ridiculous! The CEVS is just looking for another way to tax this owner because his vehicle isn't an emissions producing vehicle and they wouldn't have collected from them otherwise. I don't think that the formula should apply, since the owner could theoretically charge their vehicle from solar.
    wiyosaya likes this.
  11. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,918   +750

    Absolutely! EVs also get rid of the emissions associated with transporting petroleum based fuel to distribution points. I am surprised Singapore is so backward in their thinking.
    Watson likes this.
  12. Rieksfier

    Rieksfier TS Rookie

    And if everyone drives electrics then who will pay for all of that lost tax revenue per each litre of petrol...amiright?
  13. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,318   +1,967

    We are already seeing similar conduct within the USA. The TVA now not only tries to limit any kind of "sell back" of power by it's customers that have solar panels, they went further by suggesting they would in no way be held liable for any damage to solar units from over current that came about due to lighting strikes "down the line" from the home owner. More research found that to insure the homeowners units against lightning strikes would roughly cost 1/3rd the value of the units. While it's still being hashed out in the courts, TVA is holding fast and doing everything (despite a lot of public advertising to the contrary) possible to limit or eliminate the use of solar power by it's customers.
    Tanstar likes this.
  14. 9Nails

    9Nails TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,215   +177

    I'm certain they'll find a new stream to tax. Dinosaur squeezings were destined to dry up at some point. Governments always seem to find themselves in debt and expanding their authority as the solution.
  15. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +114

    They are desperate for revenue in Singapore, huh?

    Just charge the car from a solar array, end of story.

    Singapore law is full of odd restrictions on personal acts, some of which are comical in their absurdity and others threatening in their limitations.

    Unlike odd laws in other countries, some statutes are enforced with extremely strict and often bizarre penalties. Singapore also differs from the US, where penalties are determined by a judge: Breaking certain laws in Singapore can come with mandatory decisions that still include cane beatings.

    Fines run up to $1,000 for littering
    It is illegal to litter in many countries, but the punishments for doing it in Singapore are without comparison.

    Not only can you get as much as a $1,000 fine, litterers receive "community work orders," where they are forced to pick up trash in public. The punishment is intended to publicly embarrass convicted litterers.

    It is illegal to urinate in elevators
    Obviously everyone hates an elevator that smells like urine, but Singapore officials really hate it. Some elevators are equipped with Urine Detection Devices. These UDDs can actually detect urine odor in elevators, which set off an alarm. Once this alarm goes off, the doors of the elevator close until the police arrive and arrest the perpetrator.

    Selling chewing gum is forbidden
    The Asian country takes cleanliness seriously, and apparently gum causes too much of a mess to be sold in the country. This doesn't mean that you can't bring a little with you — just make sure you don't spit it on the floor, otherwise you can face a hefty fine.

    But after strong petitioning by Wrigley, if you get a note from a doctor you can chew certain medicinal gums.

    No pornography of any kind is allowed
    There is a lot of censorship in Singapore, and this includes the ban on pornography in all forms, from pictures to DVDs. Magazines that discuss sex, like Cosmopolitan, are allowed, but require special "parental warnings" on their covers.

    Gay sex is illegal and comes with a two-year jail term
    Sexual relationships between two members of the same gender are forbidden in Singapore, although the law is not nearly as strictly enforced as some of the other laws on this list. Formerly, oral sex was also illegal until the ban was lifted in 2007.

    You can get fined for not flushing public toilets
    There is clearly a trend in Singapore about keeping things clean, and this extends to the bathroom as well.

    If you're caught failing to flush a public toilet after using it, you can expect a fine of around $150. There do not appear to be detectors like there are for elevator urination, but apparently police officials have been known to check.

    It is illegal to walk around your house naked
    Singapore culture is intent on prohibiting many personal rights, the government reason for which is that it creates harmony in a conservative and culturally diverse country.

    Thus, you can't walk around your house naked, according to Singapore law, because it is considered a form of pornography, but it is unclear how a law like this is enforced.

    Do not spit anywhere
    Along with throwing cigarette butts on the street, spitting is banned in Singapore. As with similar prohibitions, these laws are in place to maintain Singapore's reputation for cleanliness.

    Both infractions come with significant fines and are routinely enforced.

    You can be arrested for taking drugs before entering the country
    Singapore officials have the power to submit anyone to a drug test, whether they are residents of the country or tourists.

    What is really shocking about this law is that officials do not disseminate between drugs taken before or after you come into the country. This is really frightening, considering that there are mandatory death sentences for certain drug offenses.

    If you graffiti, you will get caned
    Respect for public property is taken seriously in Singapore, so it should be no surprise that vandalism is really despised — so much so that if you are caught vandalizing, you will receive a mandatory caning.

    Unlike California where you are encouraged to only flush solid waste not flushing is a big fine.
    In several of the Southwestern US states the motto is: If it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown, flush it down, but the fine for forgetting to flush the toilet in a public convenience is $500

    Singapore's justice system is different from the US's, as certain laws can have mandatory sentences. Furthermore, Singapore courts do not have juries, only judges.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
    Leo Martin Lim likes this.
  16. lot of places are talking about a 'carbon tax', you generate emissions, you pay the tax, and you know who in the end will really pay
  17. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +114

    "Scheme" is the perfect name for this bureaucracy. (Carbon Emissions Vehicle Scheme (CEVS))
  18. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,713   +3,688

    I'm willing to bet that refining fuel such as gas or diesel, produces just as much emissions as producing electricity.

    And this wouldn't be such a big deal, if they invested in solar and wind energy production.
  19. freethinker

    freethinker TS Rookie

    I think most of us are missing the point of why there is all of this resistance to electric cars and renewable energies, it's driven more by those who profit from the commodities markets then any thing else, the price of oil and coal have been artificially manipulated for decades because there was never an alternative, why do you think the world economies are unbalanced, these same people have been for decades interfering with the progress of new energy and electric cars, Now their cash cow is about to be sent to the butcher and they will no longer have the control to milk the profits out of over rated business models that has feed their the insatiable greed, just a thought
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  20. motovibe

    motovibe TS Rookie

    It's good to see at least one government not mowed down by environmentalist. Electric is far from emission free and the batteries are not yet recyclable. Go ahead and feel good about no tail pipe, but your not high and mighty just because you can afford an electric car.
    MikeSmithFL likes this.
  21. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,182   +469

    I agree that they will find some way to make up for it. If there were only electric cars in the future, there might more taxes on electricity or perhaps more direct taxes on electric cars themselves. Just speculating, of course.

    As an aside, as part of my job I once met with some Singapore government officials visiting Los Angeles. They specifically asked to meet with me which came as a bit of a surprise to me at the time. They were roughly my government counterparts and they were interested in how my government department operated compared to theirs. Most of the information we kept was public and as such were open and available to the public. Not 100% as some data was confidential due to statutory requirements. Nonetheless, they were quite surprised at how open we were. I've forgotten most of the conversations we had but my impression at the time was that their government was much more controlling than ours which I kind of knew already but hadn't given it much thought up to then. Based on this one meeting I'm certainly not an expert on Singapore nor do I necessarily know more than the next guy but just that this experience was quite fascinating in hindsight.
  22. motovibe

    motovibe TS Rookie

    It's pretty hard to find a power plant with better than 40% efficiency. There is loss in the power transmission and loss from the charging system and loss as heat from the battery and the motor itself. Burning fuel directly in the car losses energy through heat loss only (diesels get better mileage because less energy is lost to heat.) There are many fewer losses of power with an fuel burning car.
  23. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +114

    Of course not, a Tesla isn't a very expensive car, it's low to mid range in the luxury class. And if you charge with solar (as I do) it is pretty much emission free other than some rubber left on the roads. :)
    Watson likes this.
  24. motovibe

    motovibe TS Rookie

    I could get down with the spiting and graffiti ban. There is something to be said for respecting public property.
  25. MannerMauler

    MannerMauler TS Addict Posts: 182   +44

    Okay, putting more thought into it, (my comment was a sudo-rant written in a hurry, when I wrote it, I was thinking of those people who say their cars are totally green even when the car still needs to be charged. In the US, this is most likely done by coal/oil plants as coal is still the biggest source of power in the US. These people REALLY get on my nerve.) you are right for the most part, it depends all on where you get your power from.

    Here is a list of percentages of power sources from 2014, posted by

    • Coal = 39%
    • Natural gas = 27%
    • Nuclear = 19%
    • Hydropower = 6%
    • Other renewables = 7%
      • Biomass = 1.7%
      • Geothermal = 0.4%
      • Solar = 0.4%
      • Wind = 4.4%
    • Petroleum = 1%
    • Other gases < 1%
    P.S. How do you get quotes inside of quotes besides doing it manually.

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