Rebates are aimed at encouraging motorists to buy the more expensive 'green' cars
Rebates for 'green' cars to take effect next year

THE government yesterday announced the details of rebates for "green" cars to encourage the use of electric and hybrid cars.

In a joint statement, the Land Transport Authority and Ministry of the Environment said that the rebates would be granted from Jan 2 for the registration and use of electric and hybrid cars. The latter have both conventional petrol-powered engine and electric motor.

Other than the rebates, the tax structure and other regulations would be similar to those for conventional cars.

The green breaks include a rebate equivalent to 20 per cent of the car's Open Market Value (OMV) which can be used to offset fees and taxes payable on registration. For road taxes, hybrid cars will enjoy a 10 per cent rebate while electric cars will attract a 20 per cent rebate. The rebates, first announced last month, will last for three years and will be reviewed after that.

The government yesterday reiterated that the rebates were aimed at closing the gap between the cost of owning green cars and that of conventional ones to encourage motorists to buy the more expensive green cars.

The tax structure for the green cars is based on that for conventional cars, with the government matching the engine capacity of conventional cars with the maximum motor power ratings of electric cars after taking into account the differences in engine and motor power output and transmission efficiency.

Motorists using electric or hybrid cars, however, will still have to pay the usual fees and taxes of a conventional car such as customs duty and additional registration fee. They will have to bid for a certificate of entitlement before they register their cars. There will be no breaks for electronic road pricing fees either "because they occupy road space and contribute to congestion", the statement said.

ERP rates for green cars will be the same as for conventional cars and as with owners of conventional cars, green motorists will also receive ERP rebates in the first five years of ERP implementation to help them adjust to the system.

Electric and hybrid cars will be eligible for the same preferential additional registration fee (PARF) or scrap rebate now enjoyed by conventional cars. The PARF ranges from 130 per cent of a car's OMV if it is less than five years old at deregistration to 80 per cent of OMV if the car is less than 10 years. A road tax surcharge, too, will be imposed on electric and hybrid cars which are above 10 years old.

While green cars will have to go through the same compulsory inspection routine, LTA may require additional safety checks by the manufacturer's agents as part of this routine, depending on the sophistication of the built-in safety features of the green car.