Press release

16 Aug 2021 Singapore, SG

Five in ten Singapore consumers plan electric vehicle purchase as market moves into high gear

Electric vehicle (EV) sales are expected to boom in the coming 12 months, according to the latest EY Mobility Consumer Index (MCI), a survey of more than 9,000 respondents from 13 countries, including 300 from Singapore, conducted in June 2021.

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  •  41% of consumers (Singapore 55%) surveyed plan to buy an electric vehicle (EV) as their next car, up 11 percentage points (Singapore 21 percentage points) since   November 2020
  •  Environmental concern is the top driver for purchasing an EV
  •  66% of global and Singapore consumers would be willing to pay a premium for an EV
Electric vehicle (EV) sales are expected to boom in the coming 12 months, according to the latest EY Mobility Consumer Index (MCI), a survey of more than 9,000 respondents from 13 countries, including 300 from Singapore, conducted in June 2021. More than four in ten (global 41%, Singapore 55%) of those looking to buy a car in the next year say they will be buying an EV – an increase of 11 percentage points (Singapore 21 percentage points) on November’s MCI. Overall, half (global 50%, Singapore 49%) of those surveyed say they expect to buy a car (EV or combustion engine), up 17 percentage points globally (Singapore 22 percentage points) increase from the November findings, with 65% of global respondents (Singapore 46%) saying that they would buy one in the next 12 months.           

The survey also reveals that concern about the environment is the top reason for buying an EV, with 78% of global respondents (Singapore 80%) also stating that the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened awareness and concerns about environmental issues. At least half (global 53%, Singapore 50%) of those looking to buy an EV feel that it is their responsibility to reduce their personal environmental impact, and 54% of global respondents (Singapore 60%) feel that buying an EV is one way to achieve this.

Sixty-six percent of all consumers (global and Singapore) say they are willing to pay a premium for an EV, increasing to 91% (global and Singapore) among those who are looking to buy an EV as their next car.

Tony Canavan, EY Global Transport Leader, says:

“The Singapore government has frozen vehicle growth rates for passenger vehicles for at least the next 6 months due to the disruption in travel patterns caused by the evolving COVID-19 situation. While the total population of cars in Singapore remain constant at around 630,000 vehicles, we see sales of EVs gaining ground.

“Most consumers are willing to pay a premium for an EV, either due to environmental concerns or an understanding that the long-term costs will likely be lower. This is a fundamental shift in attitudes, which is ultimately beneficial for consumers and the planet. The government has also given a clear direction to encourage EV adoption through its announcement in March 2021 that all new car and taxi registrations will need to be of cleaner-energy models from 2030, and that all vehicles will need to run on cleaner energy by 2040.”

Connect the watts

While the EV market is set to accelerate, uncertainty around charging infrastructure looms, and features as a top three concern among those not looking to buy an EV (global 32%, Singapore 56%). Notably, global respondents indicate that the cost of ownership is the top detractor for those who do not plan to buy an EV (50%), while in Singapore, the main deterrence for consumers from buying an EV is charging infrastructure (56%).

Forty-seven percent of all respondents (Singapore 39%) believe there are not enough charging points available for them to comfortably invest in an EV.

Prospective EV buyers have similar concerns, with about a-third (global 38%, Singapore 33%) stating that there are not enough charging points available. And for EV owners, charging locations (global 84%, Singapore 88%) and speed (global 78%, Singapore 83%) are cited as key concerns when it comes to charging.

Benjamin Chiang, EY Asean and Singapore Government & Public Sector Leader, says:
“People often say ‘if you build it, they will come’. However, it looks like EV buyers are already on their way, and utilities, government and infrastructure planners are playing catch-up. In Singapore, many early EV adopters are homeowners with access to their own charging points. The Singapore government aims to deploy 60,000 EV charging points across the country by 2030. Assuming the car population remains constant and a-third are EVs, this translates into a ratio of about five EVs to every charging point in 2030. There are lingering concerns whether this is sufficient to meet demand.

“As well, EV charging requires an overnight effort using the current grid infrastructure – a significantly longer amount of time compared to the time required to refuel internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. Questions on how we can optimize and provide equitable usage of the shared infrastructure remain.”

Cars bounce back

While the MCI shows the number of journeys taken by consumers is expected to decline by 5% (global and Singapore) compared to pre-pandemic levels, traveling by public transport is least favored among respondents (with uptake set to decline by 11%), while the car emerges as the favored mode of transport for consumers. Most respondents who own or intend to buy a car say that constant access to a personal car is important to them (global 56%, Singapore 39%), and that their safety and wellbeing is best served by a personal car (global 52%, Singapore 47%).

Additionally, while the survey shows non-work-related travel is expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels, work travel is expected to decline by 14% (Singapore 18%), representing a significant shift toward remote working.

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About the EY Global Advanced Manufacturing & Mobility Sector

Urbanization, changing consumer expectations and emerging digital technologies are reshaping what’s possible, from the production and distribution of goods to the transportation of people. To succeed in this new world of mobility and smart manufacturing, incumbents must transform themselves at unprecedented speed — to think like an innovative startup, tap into new talent and engage the customer. With experience across the value chain and key technology alliances, our teams show clients how to create efficiencies now while adopting digitization and optionality for long-term growth. Automotive, transportation, aerospace, defense, chemicals and industrial products companies can draw on the strength of our network of cross-industry players and put our diverse range of approaches to use today to equip their businesses for tomorrow.

About the Mobility Consumer Index

The EY Mobility Consumer Index (MCI) provides unique insights on the shifts being witnessed in journey patterns, modal choices, vehicle buying and transition to electric mobility in the post-COVID world. Based on a global survey of more than 9,000 consumers across 13 countries (Australia, Canada, China, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, UK, and US) during June 2021, MCI also aims to assess the consumers’ car buying journey while offering insights around their attitudes towards mobility choices and sustainability. The last iteration of the survey was done in September 2020 for more than 3,300 consumers in nine countries.