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Singapore forgoes Tesla's electric 'lifestyle' for buses

Elon Musk has criticized the country for being slow to adopt electric cars.
Amrita Khalid, @askhalid
August 22, 2019
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Singapore is in no rush to adopt a certain brand of electric car. In an interview with Bloomberg published today, a government minister offered a rebuttal to Tesla founder Elon Musk's criticism that the city-state is "unwelcome" to electric cars. Investing in mass transit -- rather than Tesla Superchargers -- is how the nation of slightly less than 6 million inhabitants wants to tackle climate change.

"What Elon Musk wants to produce is a lifestyle," said Masagos Zulkifli, Singapore's minister for environment and water resources, when asked by Bloomberg about Musk's comments. "We are not interested in a lifestyle. We are interested in proper solutions that will address climate problems."

Last May, Musk tweeted that Tesla attempted to bring its cars to Singapore but was unsuccessful because the government was "not supportive" of electric vehicles. But ownership of any type of single-occupancy car -- electric or not -- is a tricky endeavor in Singapore. In an effort to control pollution, the government heavily restricts vehicle ownership in Singapore. Car owners must apply for expensive ownership permits, as well as pay costly road taxes and tolls.

Meanwhile, Singapore has embraced electric public buses and is working on developing a system of self-driving, electric taxis. It certainly hasn't ruled out electric cars completely. Last October, British company Dyson Ltd announced that Singapore would be the manufacturing base for its first electric car.

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