Challenges and Opportunities: How Singapore's Push for All-Electric Vehicles Affects Traditional Workshops

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How Singapore's Push for All-Electric Vehicles Affects Traditional Workshops

Disclaimer: Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of others.

Introduction

In a bold move, Singapore aims to eliminate the sale of combustion-engine cars by 2030, joining the ranks of countries like Iceland, Sweden, and the Netherlands with similar near-term goals. However, while electric car sales have surged in those markets, Singapore faces the challenge of accelerating individual adoption to meet its target.

For the past two years, the Singapore government has been actively promoting electric vehicles (EVs) through generous incentives of up to S$45,000 and an extensive expansion of the charging infrastructure. As a result, EVs accounted for nearly 12% of all car sales in Singapore last year, a substantial increase from the approximately 4% in 2021, according to the Land Transport Authority.

Despite this progress, EVs still represent a mere 1% of the total number of cars on Singaporean roads, as revealed by a Reuters analysis of ownership data. In contrast, combustion sports cars, a favorite in a city renowned for hosting the Formula 1 Grand Prix, make up 1.65% of the nearly 653,000 registered vehicles.

Singapore's journey towards a greener automotive landscape is undoubtedly an ambitious one. With significant efforts and wider adoption by individual buyers, the city-state aims to shape a future where electric vehicles dominate its roads, reducing emissions and fostering sustainability.

Traditional Workshops in Singapore

With Singapore's aim to phase out internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and sell only electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030, traditional motor workshops are facing a major shift in their business. However, this shift also opens new opportunities for such workshops to evolve and adapt to the EV market. Let's discuss some of the challenges that traditional workshops face and explore the opportunities that come with the rise of EVs in Singapore in this blog. Additionally, we will look at how traditional workshops can future-proof their business by upskilling and innovating to meet the demands of the EV market.

Role of traditional workshops in the current automotive landscape

Traditional workshops play a crucial role in the current automotive landscape, especially in Singapore, where they provide maintenance, repairs, and customization services for combustion-engine cars. With a significant percentage of the Singaporean population still owning cars with internal combustion engines (ICE), these workshops still meet a growing demand for affordable and reliable car-related services.

However, the increasing interest in all-electric vehicles (EVs) necessitates a shift towards hybrid and electric vehicle repair. Traditional workshops need to adapt to this new reality by investing in employee training, equipment, and tools that can enable them to provide high-quality services to EV owners. While this might pose a challenge to some traditional workshops, it is also an opportunity to future-proof their business by tapping into new markets and expanding their services.

Another potential avenue for diversification lies in providing maintenance and repair services for heavy vehicles (HV), such as logistics and mass transit vehicles. With the rise of e-commerce and global logistics, Singapore's HV population is expected to grow, making it an attractive market for traditional workshops.

Traditional workshops have been the go-to service centers for car owners for regular maintenance, repairs, and customization of their vehicles. These shops provide a variety of services to meet the demands of car owners, including oil changes, brake replacements, engine overhauls, and custom paint jobs.

With the push for all-electric vehicles, traditional workshop owners need to future-proof their businesses by investing in the correct vehicle hoist, equipment, and extensive training for their mechanics.

Demand for Combustion-Engine Car Services and Impacts of Singapore's Electric Vehicle Push

The demand for services related to combustion-engine cars remains strong in Singapore, considering the current population of such vehicles.

Traditional car workshops face a significant challenge in finding skilled mechanics capable of repairing and maintaining electric vehicles. Furthermore, workshop owners must proactively future-proof their businesses as customers increasingly transition to electric vehicles.

Interestingly, this shift presents an opportunity for fully-fledged car workshops that can cater to both combustion-engine and electric vehicles, ensuring a balanced distribution of services. To adapt to this changing market, workshops can invest in web-based learning programs, enabling mechanics to specialize in electric vehicles more efficiently. By doing so, they can broaden their service offerings to include logistics vehicles, heavy vehicles, and even specialize in electric vehicle spare parts. Of course, it's crucial for these workshops to equip themselves with the right infrastructure, such as the appropriate vehicle hoists and specialized tools, to meet the needs of this emerging market.

The government's ambitious push for all-electric vehicles in Singapore is expected to have a profound impact on traditional workshops that primarily cater to combustion-engine cars. As the number of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles on the road decreases, the demand for maintenance and repair services specific to these engines will inevitably decline.

With electric vehicles featuring different components and requiring different services, there will be a reduced need for traditional engine-related repairs and maintenance. To future-proof their businesses, traditional workshop owners should consider expanding their offerings to include services like electric charging station installation and web-based learning platforms to facilitate faster skill acquisition. By embracing these changes, workshops can not only ensure the sustainability of their businesses but also cater to the growing population of electric vehicles on Singapore's roads.

The statistical duration for retraining a mechanic to perform these tasks is between six to nine months, with possible variations depending on the individual. Those with an interest in IT may have a shorter learning curve.

Electric Vehicle Servicing

Singapore’s transport sector is rapidly moving towards adopting Electric Vehicles (EVs) as a sustainable mobility option. Repairing and maintaining EVs require different skillsets than those for conventional cars, and traditional workshop owners must learn and adapt.

The transition to electric vehicle servicing requires technicians to learn new skill sets, including diagnosing and repairing EV-specific issues, installing and maintaining charging stations, and handling high-voltage systems safely. The longevity of EVs comes with a new set of concerns, such as battery life planning, preventative maintenance, and recycling end-of-life batteries.

Diversifying services, fine-tuning business strategies, and introducing specialized capabilities are crucial for traditional workshops to stay relevant in the market. Future growth for traditional workshops can be achieved by upskilling workers and training them in the areas of EV technology.

However, technicians may face challenges due to the lack of formal education and complex EV certification courses available in Singapore. The need for circuit diagrams to repair EVs, which are not readily available in the country, poses significant hurdles for traditional workshops.

Opportunities for Traditional Workshops

Adaptation and Diversification

1. Upgrading Workshop Capabilities to Cater to Electric Vehicles:

To remain relevant, traditional workshops must invest in upgrading their capabilities to effectively service and maintain electric vehicles. This involves training mechanics in the intricacies of electric vehicle technology, including battery systems, power electronics, and electric motor diagnostics. By embracing this transition and acquiring the necessary expertise, workshops can position themselves as trusted service providers for the growing number of electric vehicles on Singapore's roads.

2. Offering Hybrid Services for Both Electric and Combustion-Engine Cars:

A smart approach for traditional workshops is to offer hybrid services that cater to both electric and combustion-engine cars. By diversifying their offerings, workshops can ensure a steady stream of customers while accommodating the needs of individuals who have yet to make the switch to electric vehicles. This versatility allows workshops to maintain their customer base and gradually transition their business operations towards a more electric-focused future.

Specialization and Niche Markets

1. Focusing on Classic or Vintage Car Restoration and Maintenance:

While the shift towards electric vehicles gains momentum, there remains a strong demand for classic or vintage car restoration and maintenance services. Traditional workshops can tap into this niche market by preserving and reviving the allure of these cherished automotive relics. By leveraging their expertise and passion for classic cars, workshops can establish themselves as go-to destinations for enthusiasts seeking top-notch restoration and maintenance services.

2. Providing Specialized Services for Luxury and High-Performance Electric Vehicles:

As the market for luxury and high-performance electric vehicles grows, workshops can seize the opportunity to offer specialized services tailored to these sophisticated vehicles. This includes providing high-end diagnostics, performance enhancements, and exclusive maintenance packages. By catering to the unique needs of luxury electric vehicle owners, workshops can establish a reputation for delivering exceptional service and foster long-term customer relationships.

Government Support and Initiatives

Financial Incentives or Grants to Facilitate the Adoption of Electric Vehicle Servicing Capabilities:

To incentivize traditional workshops to adapt to the changing automotive landscape, the government offers financial support in the form of grants and incentives.

Singapore has implemented a comprehensive strategy to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles, which includes tax incentives, regulations, and standards, as well as the deployment of EV chargers.

EV Early Adoption Incentive (EEAI) (Jan 2021 - Dec 2023):

Registering fully electric cars grants owners a rebate of 45% off the Additional Registration Fee (ARF), capped at $20,000. This reduces the upfront cost difference between electric and internal combustion engine cars.

Enhanced Vehicular Emissions Scheme (VES) (Jan 2021 - Dec 2025):

Rebates for specific vehicle categories increase by $5,000 for cars and $7,500 for taxis.

Additional Registration Fee (ARF) Floor Reduction (Jan 2022 - Dec 2023):
The ARF floor for fully electric cars and taxis is lowered from $5,000 to $0. This allows buyers of mass-market electric vehicles to enjoy combined EEAI and VES rebates of up to $45,000.

Road Tax Framework Revision for Electric Cars (Jan 2022):
Road taxes for fully electric and petrol electric cars in the 90-230kW power rating bracket are reduced by up to 34%. This ensures that mass-market electric cars pay a comparable road tax quantum to their internal combustion engine counterparts.

These measures aim to lower the ownership cost of electric cars, particularly for mass-market models, making them a more accessible and attractive option for consumers in Singapore.

Singapore plans to install 60,000 electric vehicle EV charging points by 2030, with 40,000 in public car parks and 20,000 in private premises.

  • URA and LTA have announced the awarding of the pilot tender for over 600 EV charging points in more than 200 public car parks across Singapore in September 2021. Additionally, they have stated that more tenders for charging point deployment at public carparks will be awarded in the future.
  • In July 2021, the EV Common Charger Grant was introduced to support the installation of EV chargers in non-landed private residences such as condominiums and private apartments, with the aim of increasing their deployment.

Don't forget to take a detailed look into Singapore’s EV vision and roadmap as this is the future Singapore is aiming to achieve in a not-so-long future!

Conclusion

In conclusion, Singapore's push for all-electric vehicles presents both challenges and opportunities for traditional workshops. While there may be a decline in demand for combustion-engine car services, workshops can embrace this transition by adapting their capabilities, diversifying their offerings, and specializing in niche markets. Government support through financial incentives, grants, and collaborative programs further strengthens the workshop's ability to thrive in the evolving automotive industry. By seizing the opportunities presented by the all-electric vehicle era and embracing the necessary changes, traditional workshops can position themselves at the forefront of Singapore's sustainable automotive future.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the rise in electric vehicles affect traditional workshops?

Traditional workshops that specialize in repairing ICE or diesel engine vehicles may experience a significant decrease in business as EVs require different maintenance procedures and parts.

Can traditional workshops adapt to the new electric vehicle landscape?

Yes, traditional workshops can future-proof their business by investing in training and new equipment to offer repairs and maintenance services for EVs.

Are there any advantages for traditional workshops in the shift towards EVs?

Yes, there may be an opportunity for traditional workshops to specialize in the maintenance of heavy vehicles, logistics vehicles, and fleets of EVs, which may require specialized skills and equipment.

What resources are available for traditional workshops to learn about electric vehicles?

There are several web-based learning resources available for traditional workshops to learn about the correct vehicle hoist, EV-specific tools, and general EV maintenance procedures to shorten the learning curve and ensure quality repairs.

Read also: 5 Factors To Consider Before Getting a Motor Insurance in Singapore 2021
Read also: Choosing the Right Motor Insurance and Saving Costs 2021

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