Nissan drivers here go electric and defy... Nissan
But despite findings that suggest otherwise, Nissan buyers in Singapore are taking to its electrified cars with gusto.
FRI, FEB 05, 2021 - 5:50 AM
LEOW [email protected]
Tan Chong Motor Sales will launch a new Note E-Power here early next month, in line with Nissan's aim to get drivers to try electric drive without giving up on petrol.
DRIVERS in Singapore are less certain about switching to electrified cars than their counterparts in countries around the region, a new survey commissioned by Nissan Asean has found.
"The Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia are three countries that are showing maximum positive predisposition towards electric vehicles," said Vivek Vaidya from Frost and Sullivan. The research consultancy polled 3,000 people in six countries, following up on a similar survey conducted in 2018.Thirty per cent of respondents in Singapore
said they would "certainly" consider an electrified car for their next purchase in the next three years, fewer than the 37 per cent who said they would do so on average across the countries surveyed. Thirty five per cent of Malaysians
polled said they would do so. Only 23 per cent of Vietnamese respondents gave the same answer.
Mr Vaidya presented the survey results at Nissan Futures, an electromobility conference that took place in virtual form yesterday.
The Japanese carmaker is on a push to electrify its product range. It launched the world's first mass-market electric car, the Leaf, in 2010, and took technical lessons from that car to develop E-Power, a system that uses an electric motor and small battery to propel its cars.
E-Power models drive like electric vehicles but cannot be charged externally. Instead, they have a petrol engine to generate electricity.
Nissan is adding eight pure electric vehicles to its lineup by 2022, and says it wants to sell one million electric or E-Power cars a year by then. Isao Sekiguchi, regional vice president, Nissan Asean, said at the conference that such cars would make life more pleasant, especially in an urban environment. "They are cleaner and produce much less noise than traditional vehicles," he noted. "They help make our cities a better place to live."
But attitudes seem to be shifting away from electrified cars in the countries that Frost and Sullivan surveyed. Although more than a third of respondents in 2020 said they would consider buying an electrified vehicle, half of them said the same in 2018.
The percentage of people who said they wouldn't consider making the jump actually more than doubled over the same time, from 3 per cent to 8 per cent.
Mr Vaidya blamed the ongoing pandemic for nudging consumer tastes back towards fossil fuels.
Oil prices fell sharply, he said, which tends to favour traditional combustion engined cars.
Also, declining incomes could have put respondents off the idea of electrified vehicles, which tend to be more expensive than combustion equivalents. Mr Vaidya said interest in electrified cars should still be considered high. "If you adjust the entire thing to the Covid-19 impact, you see one-out-of-three customers is great," he added.
Pandemic or not, Ron Lim, the head of sales and marketing at Nissan distributor Tan Chong Motor Sales, said a tax incentive in the form of the Electric Vehicle Early Adoption Incentive (EEAI) has caused interest in the Leaf to skyrocket.
"Just as a reference, for the whole of 2020, we only managed to sell five units of Leaf but in the month of January alone, we already sold the same number, which is a very significant improvement," he told The Business Times. "Enquiries and test drives of the Leaf have also jumped by more than three-fold compared to the same period last year."
He said the EEAI has helped electric cars reach a more "palatable" price. A growing public charging network and widening choice of electric models are other factors that make him bullish on battery-powered cars. "I believe battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales should see much-stronger growth going forward," he said.
Tan Chong will launch a new Note E-Power here early next month, in line with Nissan's aim to get drivers to try electric drive without giving up on petrol.
The goal is "to really get more people to buy into the performance and benefits of electric motor-driven vehicles first, so that it will be easier for them to switch to full BEVs in the future," Mr Lim said.
Despite the downbeat findings of Nissan's own survey, Tan Chong has seen Singaporean drivers take to E-Power cars with gusto.
E-Power models accounted for 761 out of 1,578 Nissan registrations, nearly half the brand's 2020 sales. Take that, Indonesia, Thailand and The Philippines.