LTA on Tesla: CO2 emissions for electric cars start at power grid

The LTA's clarification came after a consumer detailed the months-long journey of getting his Tesla Model S electric car on Singapore's roads.

Channel NewsAsia 4 Mar 16;

SINGAPORE: All used cars imported into Singapore will have to undergo exhaust emissions and fuel efficiency tests, and for electric cars, this means having the car's electricity generation process assessed for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

The authority was responding to Channel NewsAsia's questions after a local consumer, Mr Joe Nguyen, was reported to have spent months trying to get a licence for his Tesla Model S car to be driven on local roads. Additionally, he was not given the Carbon Emissions-based Vehicle Scheme (CEVS) rebate of S$15,000 but was charged S$15,000 tax for having a non-fuel-efficient car instead.

Mr Nguyen said in the Stuff report on Tuesday (Mar 1): "I don't get it, there are no emissions. Then they send out the results from VICOM, stating that the car was consuming 444 watt hour per kilometre (Wh/km). These are not specs that I have seen on Tesla's website, or anywhere else for that matter. And then underneath it, there's a conversion to CO2 emission."

A LTA spokesperson explained that for Mr Nguyen's case, the car was tested under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) R101 standards. The result was that the electric energy consumption of his imported used Tesla car was 444Wh/km, she said.

"As for all electric vehicles, a grid emission factor of 0.5 g CO2/Wh was also applied to the electric energy consumption. This is to account for CO2 emissions during the electricity generation process, even if there are no tail-pipe emissions. The equivalent CO2 emission of Mr Nguyen’s car was 222g/km, which is in the CEVS surcharge band," the spokesperson added.

Under the revised CEVS, Mr Nguyen's Tesla falls in the C3 band, which accounts for cars with 216 to 230 g/km, and carries with it a S$15,000 surcharge.

She added that the Tesla is not the first fully electric car where grid emission factor was applied. A Peugeot Ion, for instance, was registered in July 2014 and received the maximum CEVS rebates, the spokesperson said.

LTA did acknowledge the delays Mr Nguyen faced during the testing process at VICOM Emission Test Laboratory. He had told Stuff that he experienced a two-month "ordeal" getting his car assessed.

"This is the first time a Tesla Model S has been tested for emissions," the spokesperson said.

- CNA/kk

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