Tesla Motors Inc owners get some very favorable treatment by governments encouraging the use of clean energy. In the US, Tesla owners benefit from tax credits and exemptions, including being exempt from paying a surcharge on carbon emissions, but this is not the case in Singapore. A Tesla owner in the region has been slapped with a carbon emissions surcharge, and this has caught the attention of CEO Elon Musk.
Carbon emissions surcharge on Tesla
In July 2015, Joe Nguyen of Singapore imported a used Tesla Model S P85 from Hong Kong. However, Nguyen was not aware then that he was at the beginning of a regulatory ordeal that would last for seven months, and at the end would cost him 15,000 SGD ($10,850) in lieu of carbon emissions surcharge. This on a vehicle that doesn’t even have a tailpipe.
VICOM – a private vehicle inspection provider – was given the responsibility of testing the Tesla Motors Inc for Singapore’s transport authority. During the testing. It was found that the 2014 Model S that Nguyen was using had an equivalent CO2 emission of 222g per kilometer.
VICOM made use of a ‘grid emissions factor’ for calculating the emissions, and this puts a value on the emissions created due to energy usage. In Tesla’s case, electricity is concerted into power.
Nguyen, who serves an Internet analytics firm as its vice president, was left furious on getting to know that his electric vehicle attracted an emissions surcharge. Speaking to CNBC in an interview, Nguyen said, “Give me a surcharge for my high use of electricity in my utilities bill, but don’t take my money for the wrong reasons.” Nguyen argues that one of the tests that Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) used was flawed.
Tesla CEO gets involved
Nguyen’s complaints attracted the attention of Tesla CEO. In reply to a question over the decision LTA had taken, Musk tweeted that he has been constantly in contact with Singapore’s Prime Minister – Lee Hsien Loong – to discuss the issue. Musk said that Lee has assured him of a proper investigation into the matter.
In February, PM Lee made a week-long trip to the U.S. during which he met Musk in San Francisco, and also enjoyed a test ride in the Tesla Model S P90D.
A Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB) spokesman said that Tesla Motors Inc has approached the country’s Technology Innovation and Development Scheme (TIDES) for help and support. EDB and LTA come under TIDES. EDB spokesman told CNBC that the scheme is “intended to support companies that undertake test-bedding and R&D of cutting-edge transport at technologies.”
And is “not applicable to automotive manufacturers that are only interested in the commercial sale of its cars in Singapore,” EDB spokesman told.