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April in cars: what happened?

Hey readers, how was your April? We hope it was great!


Our April was pretty hectic. We’ve been serving our customers and helping them find their perfect car match… I mean, that’s pretty much what we do, and we love it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?


Even though we’re still in a pandemic, there are signs of hope on the horizon. For one, we finally have a travel bubble with Hong Kong starting 26 May! Personally, we cannot wait to visit a cha chaan teng (after vaccinations and taking all the usual safety precautions, of course).


The world continues to spin, and news continues to happen. Here’s our monthly roundup of highlights from the last month, some updates from our blog, and a slew of fun links at the end.


Enjoy!

Photo by Interior Design via Shutterstock


Car News from the Little Red Dot


It just became more expensive to buy a car… again


In news that will surprise absolutely no one after a few seconds to digest it, the latest COE prices have jumped yet again after a recent supply cut. To be fair, this is the biggest spike in over a decade: open COEs (which can be used for any vehicles besides motorcycles) shot up 19% to finish at an eye-watering sum of $62,100. If you’re thinking of buying a new car, you might want to wait a few months for the dust to settle.


On the other hand, used cars are definitely more favourable price-wise, so don’t turn your nose up at one. We’d love to help you find a pre-loved car you’ll love driving!


Nobody likes bad parking


If social media is anything to go by, every other driver in Singapore can’t park their vehicles to save their lives. Channel News Asia takes a hard look at why so many of us park badly, why we’re compelled to publicly shame our fellow motorists for their inconsiderate behaviour, and how we can solve the problem.


Fines work only up to a point––they’re essentially a punitive tax on poorer people, and a get-out-of-jail-free card for the rich––but demerit points might prove a greater incentive to keep their offences to a minimum. Or maybe motorists who park inconsiderately should be sent back to driving school?


Car-sharing: will it ever beat good ol’ Grab?


COVID-19 saw a big surge in car-sharing, which is where companies rent our cars short-term or where private owners lease their vehicles to others. But because Singapore has a pretty solid transit network and even relatively affordable ride-hailing services, Vulcan Post suggests that car-sharing is likely to be a short-term solution, as it’s not especially convenient (and you know how much Singaporeans value convenience).


On the other hand, if you do need to drive on the regular but buying one is just too expensive (see: COE prices), leasing a car on a month-to-month basis is probably a good compromise?


Recycling car batteries just got greener


Many industries are pretty polluting, but the king of them all is car battery recycling, which traditionally releases tons of toxic fumes and effluents in the process of refining and extracting lead. But ACE Green Recycling, a Singapore-based startup, is looking to change that with greener technology––using water, chemicals, and electricity instead of high-heat smelting. Super cool, and revolutionary if they can make it work.


(Incidentally, we flagged the NASDAQ-listed Aqua Metals as one of our stock picks earlier this year; they’re also working on used battery recycling!)


An electrifying joke


Elsewhere in Car News


Volkswagen won April Fools, even if it flubbed the dates


A few days before April 1st, German carmaker Volkwagen announced that it was changing its name to ‘Voltswagen’ to commemorate their shift to producing electric vehicles.


"We might be changing out our K for a T, but what we aren't changing is this brand's commitment to making best-in-class vehicles for drivers and people everywhere,” said US head Scott Keogh.


That’s a great line if we’ve ever heard one. Talk about commitment to the joke! It’s a pity they mixed up the dates and leaked it a few days too early––that would have been a spectacular April Fools’ joke instead of a colossal press misunderstanding.


Everybody has an opinion on Tesla


Say what you like about Tesla, but this EV company is hard to ignore. Globally, the Tesla Model 3 is the most searched EV in the world (no small feat), and analysts are falling over themselves to recommend Tesla stock as an integral part of your portfolio. Is a $1,071 target price for Tesla absurd? (That would make the company worth $1T.) It can’t be anything but bonkers, and yet Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jones makes a reasonable case for Tesla’s worth in your portfolio.


On the other hand, it turns out many people who actually own Teslas aren’t very happy with their cars. Just take a look at this Twitter thread outlining why. Basically, approach with caution if you’re considering buying a Tesla––you might need a lot more spare change to fix things afterwards.


I could teach you, but I’ll have to charge...


...my spanking new electric car, if I could find a damn charging point near me in this city. But you know where finding a charging station won’t be a problem? China. They added 112,000 EV charging stations in December alone, which is more than the entirety of the US public charging network combined. Isn’t that wild?


We don’t have the space in Singapore for 112,000 stations, obviously, but even upping the numbers from our existing 1600 charging points would be a good start––this is one of the biggest infrastructural barriers to more widespread adoption of EVs in Singapore.


A Few Things We Wrote This Month


How to (legally) modify your car: Even if you can’t make your car look like an ultra-cool Japanese decotruck, you can still make it stand out from the crowd. We give you the lowdown on what’s possible and what’s not.


Paying for your car: Bills are the least fun part of daily adult life, but we’ve tried to make your financing options as clear and easy to understand as possible in this piece.


Sanity check: So you think you can drive. Are you sure about that? Here’s a list of best practices useful for both new and veteran drivers alike. After all, you can never be too careful on the road.