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March in cars: what happened?

Hey readers, we hope you’ve had a great March!


We’ve had a pretty busy time here at ST Auto, and if you’ve picked up a car from us or even dropped by to take a spin on one of our cars, thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.


As usual, there’s been a lot happening here in Singapore and out in the world. Here are some of the news highlights from last month, a little roundup of what we wrote, and some fun links at the end of the post.


Enjoy!


Photo by Heng Lim


Car News from the Little Red Dot


4 years left to say goodbye to diesel


It’s finally happening: Singapore’s going to ban new diesel car and taxi sales from 2025 onwards, and you won’t be able to register them anymore. This isn’t entirely sudden, as most light vehicles have been making a quiet transition towards hybrid-electric models––in fact, almost 60% of taxis are now hybrid-electric.


That being said, the ban doesn't include petrol cars or taxis, so it’s a slow step towards 100% electrification by 2040. A comparison with other countries’ due dates for the end of fossil fuel cars puts Singapore on the later side of the spectrum. Hopefully, this will happen faster in practice––we think Singapore’s EV revolution is a little overdue. But we’ll have to wait for electric cars to get a little more affordable.


Car safety debates continue, alongside accidents


Last month’s horrific Tanjong Pagar car crash sparked a national debate on car safety. This month has seen a few more notable car accidents, from a car crashing into a tree and flipping over to another catching fire in Jalan Sultan, but thankfully (and miraculously) no serious injuries or fatalities.


Concerns remain, however, regarding speeding, modifications, and Singapore’s (illegal) road racing scene. The latter in particular is still fresh in many people’s minds after the Tanjong Pagar incident, and though the road racing scene is dying a natural death, it’ll be a while before that ceases to be a talking point with car safety pundits.


How many cyclists does it take to block 3 lanes?


The answer is more than 20, if this video posted to the Singapore Road Accident Facebook group is anything to go by.


The pandemic saw a cycling boom, with many people taking to bicycles as a means of transport as well as exercise. It’s fairly logical to suppose that outdoor activities like cycling are pretty low-risk when it comes to COVID, so it’s not surprising that some cyclists might think it’s safe to pedal around in groups.


However, the Road Traffic Act says that cyclists are technically supposed to keep left on all paths unless overtaking or turning right at the following junction, and aren’t supposed to obstruct vehicles moving at a faster speed. So maybe these cyclists were trying to make a statement, like these Latvian cyclists who designed car skeletons as a critique on how much space vehicles take up on roads. Except, you know, they just decided to do it with people instead.


But more importantly, the fundamental science around COVID-19 hasn’t changed: most global best practices suggest that cyclists should keep a distance of two metres from each other to minimize droplet transmission in the slipstream, even if the chance of transmission is highly unlikely. The cyclists are also, technically, in violation of distancing guidelines.


Even if you avoid dying, long COVID sucks, so social statement or not, cyclists may want to consider adhering to sensible distancing guidelines. Cycle safe!


Elsewhere in Car News


Peter Rawlinson test drives the Lucid Air


One of the biggest pieces of news in February was the official announcement of the Lucid merger. CCIV shares are chugging along at $20+, which we think is still a pretty good buy for the long-term (though you might be waiting a while).


Is Lucid really the next Tesla though? Watch the video above and see for yourself: CEO Peter Rawlinson test drives a pre-production version of the Lucid Air, and this sleek, sexy beast promises to give any Tesla a run for its money. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long before they hit the market: Lucid Motors has received official approval to build an EV factory in Arizona.


When your self-driving car isn’t actually a self-driving car


If Elon Musk’s bold claims in the past few years are anything to go by, we should have fully self-driving cars like… now. Yesterday, even. But press Tesla’s lawyers and they’ll be forced to admit that their supposed “full self-driving capability” cars are not, in fact, wholly autonomous at this point in time. They could be. But they’re not.


Obviously, not having a self-driving car is okay. But telling your consumers that the car will drive itself without constant attention from a human driver when it can’t and won’t, is much less okay.


Teslas are cool and all, but if you’re looking to buy one, you should know that the extra $10,000 for the “Full Self-Driving Capability” option is, for now, an out-and-out scam.


Subaru, you literally had one job


Subaru has launched fantastic advertising campaigns in the past––we’re thinking of the iconic LGBT-friendly one in the 1990s––but their newest one missed the mark. Truly, it makes us ask: why, Subaru, why?


Then again, they also get it right sometimes. Like with this glorious, hilarious tagline for the Subaru Forester (which we’ve recommended as one of the best cars for short drivers, don’t @ us if you’re short). Why wouldn’t you want to own the Forester Ultimate Customized Kit Special?


Photo by GOLFX


A Few Things We Wrote This Month


Calling short people: Sorry, we mean ‘vertically challenged.’ Jokes aside, shopping for cars when you’re below average height truly sucks, so we’ve put together a helpful guide for you the next time you