Update: Tesla have released a statement (see below) which explains in considerable detail the energy consumption of the Model S and goes some way to helping clarify the situation.
Imagine then, your absolute dismay when you buy one and are almost immediately slapped with a massive $15,000 fine for owning a high CO2 emissions vehicle.
That's exactly what happened to Joe Nguyen who reportedly bought his Model S and had it shipped over to his home of Singapore.
As if the irony couldn't get any deeper Nguyen had actually just applied for a Carbon Emissions-based Vehicle Scheme (CEVS) rebate from Singapore's Land Transit Authority which would have seen him get paid...you guessed: $15,000.
According to the LTA, the Model S is not exempt just because it runs off of electricity. Instead the car is being fined for the amount of CO2 that was produced to generate the electricity.
In essence, just because your car runs on clean electricity don't think that all that electricity was being made clean at source.
It's an interesting proposition because Singapore produces almost none of its own energy, which means that there are huge import costs when it comes to energy.
Singapore's LTA admits this is the first time they've had to assess a Tesla Model S.
The matter even reached the attention of Tesla CEO Elon Musk himself who said that he had spoken to Singapore's Prime Minister and that the situation was being investigated.
Tesla have since released a statement on the situation:
"The Model S that our customer imported into Singapore left our factory in 2014 with energy consumption rated at 181 Wh/km. As the Land Transport Authority has confirmed, this qualifies as the cleanest possible category of car in Singapore and entitles the owner to an incentive rather than a fine.
Model S achieves this result because CO2 emissions in gas-powered cars are far higher than in electric cars. In Singapore, electricity generation releases roughly 0.5kgCO2/kWh. Based on energy consumption in Model S of 181 Wh/km, this results in 90 g CO2/km. Driving an equivalent gas-powered car like the Mercedes S-Class S 500 results in emissions of approximately 200 gCO2/km. And because of oil extraction, distribution, and refining, approximately 25% more has to be added on top of that to calculate the real carbon footprint of gas-powered cars. That means an electric car like the Model S has almost three times lower CO2 per km than an equivalent gas-powered car. Moreover, as Singapore increases the percentage of grid power from solar and wind, the CO2 from electricity drops with each passing year.
We are having cooperative discussions with the LTA to ensure a proper understanding of these issues and to make sure that they are correctly testing our customer’s Model S. Based on the positive nature of those discussions, we are confident that this situation will be resolved soon."