After the story that originated here on Stuff and was carried by automotive blogs that all shared the general sentiment of disbelief, LTA has finally issued an official explanation on why Joe Nguyen was stuck with a S$15,000 tax surcharge for his imported secondhand Tesla S.
Long story short, based on the tests run by VICOM Emission Test Laboratory (VeTL), the secondhand Tesla S had an electrical energy consumption of 444 Wh/km, thus placing it in the Carbon Emissions Vehicle Scheme (CEVS) C3 surcharge band which means it's subject to a S$15,000 tax.
However, if it had been brand new, it would have been eligible for a rebate as its energy consumption would be lower (Tesla informed the LTA that the car's energy consumption rating was 181 Wh/km when it first left the factory back on 28 June 2014) and would have put it in the CEVS A1 band.
"Electric cars are not carbon emissions free. They may not produce emissions from the tailpipe like conventional cars, but they take electrical power from the national power grid which has to burn fuel to produce the electricity, and in the process produces carbon emissions."
Because it's a used car, it had to go through those different VeTL tests "since LTA would not know how much the car’s condition might have deteriorated".
We wonder what Elon Musk has to say about LTA’s statement.