So after these hurdles were cleared Nguyen could finally get his Tesla registered. Except for one small problem - the government would not give Nguyen the S$15,000 rebate that eco-friendly cars normally receive.
"I don't get it, there are no emissions. Then they send out the results from VICOM, stating that the car was consuming 444 watt hour per kilometre. These are not specs that I have seen on Tesla's website, or anywhere else for that matter. And then underneath it, there's a conversion to CO2 emission," Nguyen says.
The CO2 conversion pegged the Tesla squarely in the category of large gas guzzlers. Instead of getting the S$15,000 rebate, Nguyen was charged an extra S$15,000 as tax for a non-fuel efficient car.
Nguyen rebuts these claims, citing that according to the US EPA, the Tesla only does 237 watt hour per kilometre and his attempts at presenting this to the powers that be were futile.
In fact, if one checks, a Tesla Model S does about 90 miles per gallon in converted fuel efficiency according to the US EPA. On the other hand, a Toyota Corolla, long held as one of the most fuel efficient cars in the world gets about 32 miles per gallon.
The difference really is staggering.
"Just before Chinese New Year LTA sent me a letter that said, you know, this is what it was, and this is what I have to pay," Nyugen said.
He bit the bullet, forked out the cash and today, is most likely the driver of the only legally licenced Tesla in the whole country.
This process though, has made Nguyen something of an advocate for electric cars in Singapore and he has been working to convince the government of the merit of such cars to society. Only time will tell though, if his efforts bear fruit.
In the meantime though, if you see a white Tesla Model S on the streets of Singapore, you probably know who is driving it and could get some good advice on owning this electric unicorn here.