More Singaporean car owners consider switching to hybrid, electric vehicles

Cycle & Carriage Singapore (C&C) commissioned a dipstick research study to better understand consumers’ sentiments and motivations toward electric vehicles (EV) in bid to uncover the early adopters’ mindset. This study was performed over the month of June 2023 based on a sample size of 246 respondents, representative of the national population.

Government accelerating sustainability efforts

In recent years, the government has been working towards a sustainable future, resulting in the formulation of the Singapore Green Plan 2030. The plan comprises of five key pillars – city in nature, energy reset, sustainable living, green economy, and resilient future.

One key pillar that is crucial to the automotive industry is the energy reset pillar, which focuses on clean energy, green transport, and green buildings. Specifically for green transport, the goal is to have all vehicles operating on clean energy by 2040, providing opportunities for a sustainable landscape in the automotive industry.

Elimination of ICE vehicles by 2040

To drive the goal of green transport, the government will phase out internal combustion engines (ICE) vehicles by 2040. This means that registration of new ICE cars and taxis will cease from 2030. In view of this timeline, the research study also aims to uncover the conversion intention of existing ICE vehicle owners to greener options. 

The study uncovered that 67% of existing petrol vehicle owners are looking to sell their cars by 2025. Of those looking to buy a car, about 1 in 2 are considering a hybrid or EV. This marks a positive outlook for Singapore’s vision to electrify its vehicle population, with a large proportion of local drivers going for greener options in the very near future.

Limited EV knowledge

Many people still have little to no knowledge of EVs. Of all the people surveyed, 50% responded that they know an EV is a vehicle that is powered by an electric battery (as implied), but nothing more about it. 

11% said they have only heard about it, while 7% indicated that they have no idea what it is. Only 22% have researched about it and only about 11% have driven one before. This means that there is still much room to raise awareness and education of EVs.

Profile of EV early adopters

The study validated that people who are likely to purchase an EV are mainly younger, more affluent, and higher educated. 81% of the respondents who are likely to purchase an EV fall into the age group of 20 to 49 years old. 91% of them received tertiary education. Nearly 40% of them earn a monthly personal income of $9,000 and above.

Interestingly, out of this pool of respondents who are likely to purchase an EV, 58% are female, dispelling the misconception that early adopters of automotive products are usually male-dominated.

People who have two or more cars are also found to be more likely to want to buy an EV. Perhaps, this suggests that there is greater motivation to try out an EV as they still have a more familiar ICE vehicle to fall back on.

Key considerations when purchasing an EV

When asked the top five considerations when purchasing an EV, 46% chose the availability of charging points, making it the top condition, followed by battery durability at 38%, vehicle safety at 38%, vehicle price at 35%, and maintenance and servicing costs at 34%.

Diving deeper into the availability of charging points, among those who are likely to buy an EV, nearly half will do so when there are 30,000 charging points in Singapore. When the government’s goal to increase the number of charging points to 60,000 by 2030 is reached, the EV adoption percentage will grow to 74%. 

In addition, nine in 10 who participated in the survey claimed to have access to EV charging facilities today, either at their workplace or at their place of residence.

With battery durability emerging as the second top consideration, one in two will consider owning an EV if the battery life can last minimally seven years. Vehicle safety ranks third, which further affirms the need to improve EV knowledge among the consumers in order to provide greater assurance on the safety and reliability of EVs.

Looking ahead 

EV adoption is picking up pace. EVs made up about 13% of newly registered vehicles in the first five months of 2023, up almost 12% compared to 2022. The government has been providing EV buyers with incentives to encourage and support the transition. 

The plan to grow the number of charging points to 60,000 by 2030 is also well aligned to consumer’s top consideration in EV adoption. As such, the vision towards green transport is an optimistic one.

Photo credit: iStock/ Ralf Hahn

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