Is Singapore right to charge Electric Vehicle Fine for Tesla S?

Lately there was a case of a man who imported the first Tesla S into Singapore and was slapped with a $15,000 Electric Vehicle Fine. He wrote an open letter to make a case for his Tesla S and hope to get a refund. In most countries including the US, owner of the same Tesla S model actually gets tax rebate since Tesla S is an electric car which is supposed to be ‘greener’ than their gasoline counterpart.

Different way of computing carbon emission of electric vehicle

The reason from LTA is that they took into account the carbon emission from the power grid which apparently is a first among national regulators. I guess the question should be why are the other regulators not taking into account power grid carbon emission? Electric car consumes electricity, electricity comes from power station and most power station emits carbon dioxide. It is a fairly straight forward association. According to LTA, Mr Nguyen’s used Tesla S has an electrical energy consumption of 444 Wh/km while Tesla’s own energy rating is only at 181 Wh/km. This is quite a huge discrepancy. Are old Tesla car significantly less energy-efficient than a new one? The efficiency dropped almost by 2.5 times!

Assuming that LTA’s calculation is correct, this Tesla S is indeed not a very ‘green’ car. So the fine may be justifiable. Of course, $15,000 may seem a lot to many people. However, this is what car owners in Singapore have been paying all this while for the less energy-efficient car.

“You would not charge someone CO2 emissions for owning an iPhone that they charge at home, would you?”

So if the government decides to implement a similar fine for iPhone or more generally smartphone user, how much would it cost you? Let’s compare the Tesla S with an iPhone 6s Plus.

Tesla S

The Tesla S has battery capacity that ranges from 40 kWh to 90 kWh and can travel 260km to 509km.  Assuming that the owner of the Tesla S drives lightly for about 10km per year on the 40k Wh model, he would have charged his car around  38 times taking in a total energy consumption of 1.52 MWh (40KWh/260km x 10,000km) based on Tesla’s specification. Using LTA’s calculation, the energy consumption will be 4.44 MWh (444 Wh/km x 10,000km)  .

iPhone 6s Plus

I took this model of iPhone for comparison as it has the highest battery capacity among all the other iPhones. The iPhone 6s has a battery capacity of 2750 mAh or 10.45 Wh. Assuming a daily charge, in a year, the total energy consumption of the iPhone will be  around 3.8kWh.

The results

Let’s recap the results in a table:

One year Energy Consumption of Tesla vs iPhone
Tesla S (Spec) Tesla S (LTA) iPhone
1.52 MWh 4.44 MWh 3.8 kWh

Another assumption I have made is that Mr Nguyen’s bought a 10 year COE. So using a 10 year period, the total fine an iPhone 6s Plus user should pay will be:

Fine for ten years of usage
Tesla S iPhone 6s Plus (Spec) iPhone 6s Plus (LTA)
SGD 15,000

 3.8 kWh / 1.52 MWh x 15,000

= SGD 37.50

3.8 kWh / 4.44 MWh x 15,000

=SGD 12.84

Given that our phone usually last us for 2 years before we re-contract, the total amount tax that we should pay will then be:

Fine for two years of usage
iPhone 6s Plus (Spec) iPhone 6s Plus (LTA)
SGD 7.50 SGD 2.57

According to IDA, there are 8,211,400 mobile subscriber in the month of December 2015 (both postpaid and prepaid). A survey by Deloitte’s Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) puts our mobile penetration rate at 90%. In this estimate, I will use only smartphone for calculating the total fine.

The final total yearly fine that the government can collect for charging smartphones will thus add up to be …

~SGD9.5 million to SGD27.7 million

Wow, suddenly the amount seems significant compared to the revenue from ERP which stands at SGD 152 million as of 2014. Hope no one is having new idea on taxing handphone charging! Logistically implementing this taxation may be a nightmare too. Imagine different models having different variants with different battery capacity, some with additional battery pack etc…

So are electric cars really green?

Let’s get back to topic. From the manufacturing of electric car (think about the ginormous  battery they used in electric car, are you sure they are environmentally friendly?) to charging the car from power grid that is powered by non-renewable energy sources, electric car may not be as eco-friendly as we thought.

However, things can improve if more investment is made on renewable energy sources. Our electric vehicle may then be able to be powered by green electricity and our carbon footprint can thus be reduced. Until we reach that stage, I think it is fair for Singapore to charge Electric Vehicle Fine, that is of course if the calculation from LTA is indeed correct.

PS: Don’t just hear from me, hear it from the expert:

**UPDATES: 12 Mar 2016

Tesla has shot back at LTA comparing the Tesla S with a Mercedes S-class. According to their calculation, the Tesla S is around 3 times lower in terms of Co2 emission based on their original factory rating (181 Wh/km).
[Update 27 Oct 2016] Two mode of Tesla cars get their tax break in Singapore. 

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Console War in Singapore

Being an avid gamer myself, the topic of console war is always close to my heart. Before I reveal which camp I belong to, let us take a look at the new dashboard I have created using figures from Approximately 60,000 game posted on the platform from Jun 2010 to Aug 2015 are visualized in this dashboard.

Some key points to note on launch date of some consoles in Singapore:

  1. Feb 2012: PS Vita launched in Singapore
  2. Jan 2013: Wii U launched in Singapore
  3. Dec 2013: PS4 launched in Singapore
  4. Sep 2014: Xbox launched in Singapore after a year it was launched in US and Europe.

Who is leading the console war? Our 3 charts below can provide some indication:

1. Market Share

Market Share

Based on the number of posts on GameTrader.SG, market shares of PS4 has increased tremendously from 2014 to 2015. It is now at 44% of the combined numbers of posts of PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Xbox One is the tiny portion over at the bar chart for 2015 which account for 2.58%.

A point to note is that PS4 has close to a year head start compared to Xbox One which was release in Sep 2014. Desperate for getting their hand on a next gen-console, gamers may not have the patience to wait a year for Xbox One and have move on with PS4.

2. Price


Price of PS3 and Xbox 360 games have been declining steadily over the years. With the launch of the new PS4 console, we see a greater drop in PS3 game pricing. The average PS3 games also cost about 35% of a PS4 game.

While Xbox 360 game is the lowest among the XBox and Playstation family, Xbox One game remains slight pricer than PS4. Could price be a reason why PS4 popularity is higher? Anyhow, a quick check on Qisahn for the game Watch Dog shows that Xbox One and PS4 price is the same at $39. Perhaps the data could be bias since trading for PS4 game is a lot more than Xbox One.

Nonetheless, it is good to know that game prices are decreasing over the years!

3. No. of Game Titles

Game Titles


The number of game titles definitely plays a part in the popularity of a console. Again, we see the number of titles traded on GameTrader.SG for PS4 is about 4 times more than Xbox One. Without a doubt PS4 titles are stronger than Xbox One. However, most big titles Metal Gear Solid V, Grand Theft Auto 5 and Final Fantasy 15 are usually available on both platforms. At least what we can conclude is that more titles are being traded on GameTrader.SG for PS4 compared to Xbox One.

Other findings

If you have time to play with the dashboard, you will be able to find other interesting insights. For example, pre-owned game cost about 35% less than the brand new counter part and average of preowned PS3 game can be as low as $22. Of course, some games are even cheaper depending on the seller.

Have fun with this dashboard! You can try it here.

PS: You should be able to guess which camp I am now 😛

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Salary Data of Graduate in Local Singapore University 2014

Recently, I have several friends who had their commencement/graduation ceremonies at various universities in Singapore. How does a choice of degree affect your employability and salary? Luckily for us, this data is available publicly. After cleaning up the data and some simple preprocessing, I have created an interactive visualization using this dataset. Hope this can be of use to people who is contemplating on which courses to take 🙂

Some insights:

  1. SMU and NUS students seems to be getting better basic monthly salary than their NTU counterparts.

  2. Business student generally fairs better than Engineering student in terms of mean basic salary. Top salary goes to Law graduates while the last goes to Arts and Social Sciences graduates.

  3. The mean for business student basic starting pay is $3,464 while that of engineering is $3,263. The highest paid business/finance degree is Business Management Cum Laude of SMU at $4,019 while that of engineering is Aerospace Engineering of NTU at $3,715.
    Business / Finance Degree Basic Salary

  4. In terms of employment rate, professions like teachers (Arts with Education), lawyers, pharmacists, accountant have either 100% or very close to 100% employment rate. At the other end of the spectrum, the lowest employment rate is at 66.70% for Psychology graduates and 73.20% for Sociology graduates.

You can try out this dashboard that I have created yourselves! There are many insights that you can derive from this dashboards that I couldn’t cover in this blog. Let me know what insights you have gathered in the comments below!

Lastly, I would like to add that salary and employability should not be all that one focus on when choosing a university degree in my opinion. Choose a course that you like and you will likely do better than one where you have close to zero interest. Have fun playing with the dashboard!

-Jax Xie

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