Buying a Tesla Model 3 in Singapore costs more than double US

London, June 2020: A red Tesla Model 3 parked and charging in a designated charging bay in central London
Tesla Model 3 charging in a designated charging bay in central London. (PHOTO: Getty Creative)

By Kyunghee Park

(Bloomberg) -- Tesla Inc. is selling its Model 3 in Singapore at a starting price of about S$113,000 (US$85,200) —more than double the cost in the U.S. — as the electric-vehicle manufacturer makes inroads into one of the world’s most expensive automobile markets.

The Model 3’s price tag in the island nation can stretch to about S$155,000 once extras like all-wheel drive are included and the car has a wait time for delivery of around 12 to 14 weeks, according to Tesla’s Singapore website, which went live this week. An entry-level Model 3 in the U.S. costs about US$38,000.

Singapore is one of the most expensive places in the world to own a car because buyers must pay excise and registration duties that are more than double the vehicle’s market value. They must also bid for a limited number of car-ownership permits that are auctioned by the government and that allow drivers to own a car for a maximum of 10 years.

Once that so-called certificate of entitlement expires, owners have to either bid for a new 10-year permit, export the car, or scrap it. Even despite the yawning difference in prices, the Singapore Tesla cost excludes the COE. They cost from around S$49,800, depending on engine capacity.

Singapore said last year it plans to phase out fossil fuel-powered vehicles by 2040 and will add incentives to encourage consumers to buy electric cars. The island state has been relatively slow to adopt EVs and Tesla boss Elon Musk said on Twitter in early 2019 that the government was unwelcoming.

Hyundai Motor Group is also building an innovation center in Singapore that will be able to produce 30,000 EVs a year by 2025. The facility will also be where Hyundai will work on developing artificial intelligence, big data and other technologies to enhance its manufacturing processes.

Tesla has begun exporting Model 3 sedans made at its factory on the outskirts of Shanghai to countries in Europe and Asia. The company’s Shanghai plant — its first outside the US — opened for local China deliveries at the start of 2020. Tesla sells its basic Model 3 sedan in China from 249,900 yuan (US$38,800).

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.