Electric? Dream On
Torque Singapore|July - August 2019
Electric? Dream On

Battery-powered cabs may be economically feasible one day when a technologically superior company supplies vehicles that are as robust and economical as those with combustion engines.

Christopher Tan

In 2015, I asked the Economic Development Board (EDB) why Chinese vehicle maker BYD was accorded tax exemption on a fleet of cars intended for commercial for-profit use.

The exemption, for around 100 vehicles, cost the state several millions in foregone tax revenue.

The 100 electric BYD cars were to provide taxi services here as a trial. So, the question had relevance.

The question was significant on another front. In 2002, the EDB said the Transport Technology Innovation and Development Scheme (Tides) was “not intended to confer commercial benefits to individuals or fleet operators”. It was responding to a Business Times article on Honda’s Intelligent Community Vehicle System (ICVS), which deploys a fleet of tax-exempt hybrid Civics for a car-sharing scheme.

In its reply to my BYD query, the EDB said: “Any incentive support is given after an analysis of the quantitative and quantitative benefits versus the costs.”

“For BYD, the whole-ofSingapore benefits – including setting up a joint lab with I2R, Regional HQ, innovation centre, data collection under actual road conditions and testing EV fleets to understand viable business models – significantly outweigh the costs.”

Now that the trial has concluded, I followed up with the EDB on what benefits it has gleaned from it.


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July - August 2019