Public transportation greener than Tesla: Singaporean minister

Singapore's environment minister says electric cars are ‘lifestyle,’ not ‘proper solutions’

Tesla Model X charging (pixabay photo)

Tesla Model X charging (pixabay photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Singapore’s Minister of Environment and Water Resources, Masagos Zulkifli, on Wednesday (Aug. 21) said that taking public transportation is a better solution to climate change than driving Tesla vehicles, Bloomberg reports.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has criticized the country for being slow on the adoption of electronic vehicles (EVs), saying that the government “has been unwelcome” to Tesla in a January tweet. Then, in May, Musk tweeted again, telling potential Singaporean customers that the government “is not supportive” of EVs.

“What Elon Musk wants to produce is a lifestyle,” Zulkifli responded when asked about Musk’s comments. “We are not interested in a lifestyle. We are interested in proper solutions that will address climate problems.”

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (李顯龍) said in a national address last Sunday (Aug. 18) that the impact of climate change, including rising sea levels, hotter temperatures, and more intense rainfall, threatens the existence of the island nation. He estimated that the country could spend more than SG$100 billion (NT$2.3 trillion) over the next century to protect itself from these negative effects.

Singapore has been enhancing its mass transit options, with bus and subway routes covering almost all of its territory. It aims to make every destination in the country accessible within a 45-minute commute on public transportation by 2040.

Despite this, Singapore still has great potential when it comes to transition to EVs, as the government tightly controls the ownership of car licenses, which are issued on a 10-year basis and could be used as a tool to for conversion. “If there’s any country which can convert from petrol cars to 100% EVs, it will be Singapore,” said Zulkifli.

Nevertheless, Zulkifli said that building adequate charging polls in the densely populated city would be the greatest challenge to promoting EVs. “Just choosing a parking spot is already problematic, and now you want to say who gets the charging point. We do not have the solution yet.”