How Tesla is faring in Singapore
Singaporean importers are moving Teslas into Singapore. I have yet to see one in the steel and I reckon I won't, considering one costs as much as condominium here in the little red dot. Love them or hate them, Teslas are becoming a worldwide phenomenon. The electric American giant has gone from making a barely-memorable roadster, to being one of the most well-known car manufacturers in the world in a span of about 10 years. The empire should have reached Singaporean shores by now, but for some reason it hasn't. And I think I know why.
We have to start with the electric car as whole, and well, they simply aren’t ready yet. One who is even remotely interested in cars will tell you the textbook problems; driving experience, accessibility, range, charging etc. Its that last one which really grinds my gears (pun not intended). While the companies are trying to improve their charging times like lap times at the Nurburgring; it still takes roughly 50 minutes to get fully juiced up. And that’s if you use one of the fancy expensive chargers such as Tesla’s supercharger. 50 minutes isn’t a considerably long time if you have company or anyone to do, but that’s not a possibility as you are driving what’s essentially a Prius. Even more worryingly, that 50min charging time is what appears on the brochure; which has a 80% chance of being absolute bullshit. This happens with all electronic devices; my new phone had an alleged 1 hour charge time, but it still took around 3 to get from 0 to 100%. Finally, when you’ve stood outside your fancy electric car for what feels like an eternity, you’re ready to set off but, a choice awaits you. Turn off absolutely everything except the motor to maximise the range, or turn on the air conditioning and risk rubbing 10 miles of it. You’d probably go with the first option, not wishing to spend another hot 2 hours outside your car, and then proceeding to feel uncomfortable in the car itself for the entire journey.
Back to a Singaporean point of view, the problems are two-fold. Anyone living in Southeast Asia will tell you driving with the air conditioning off will get you puzzled and worrisome looks; the temperatures here hitting 34 degrees and occasionally higher (thats around 92F for those unaware), you'd die of a heatstroke as you're parking the car and the charging ports here are woeful. There are only a handful of the really reliable ones which could get you charged up in about 40min but the majority of the charging points were built for small Smart-like cars that are used for ride-sharing services so using one to charge a Tesla would take hours. To top it all off you can't use the one feature you would use in a Tesla.
The famed autopilot. Said to be the best autopilot mode ever installed on a car and you can't use it. Why? Simple. The country's too bloody small. LA has many long, smooth, easy roads that allow the autopilot to effortlessly control the car. Here, most of the roads are way too short and that means the system has to do a lot of calculating and witchcraft and whatever the hell it does to work harder. Im not sure I trust the car to do many confusing turns near school zones and lots of zebra crossings. I reckon it's why the government is not allowing Tesla to import cars here on their own. The ones in showrooms here today had to be brought in by a third party dealership because the transport minister thinks Tesla is promoting a higher lifestyle rather than being the eco-warriors they claim to be. Singapore has always been an anti-car country but Tesla just proved it to the entire world. For gods sake the man thinks buses are the solution to traffic jams.