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These eco cars are about to get more expensive

Time is running out for some buyers to save money and the planet at the same time, as eco cars look set to rise in price.

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BMW's range of iPerformance plug-in cars (second from the left onwards) will see their prices rise by up to S$10,000 next year.

Singapore

IN January a new vehicle tax scheme comes into effect, and prices for the most eco-friendly cars in Singapore are expected to rise as a result. That's because the most generous tax rebate will be S$20,000 under the new Vehicular Emissions Scheme (VES), compared to up to S$30,000 with the prevailing Carbon Emissions-based Vehicle Scheme (CEVS).

While CEVS bands cars according to carbon dioxide emissions, the more stringent VES takes into account five pollutants, thus making it likely that fewer cars will qualify for the cleanest A1 band. But the smaller rebate for the A1 band under VES means even the very cleanest cars will become more expensive in January.

The Toyota Prius C, a petrol-electric hybrid car that can travel 100km on just 3.9 litres of fuel, was priced from S$105,988 including Certificate Of Entitlement (COE), but its authorised distributor Borneo Motors says its price for 2018 will be S$116,988.

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BMW's iPerformance range of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) will also go up in price. "Most BMW PHEV models will be impacted with a price increase from S$5,000 to S$10,000 next year," said a spokesman for BMW Asia.

The PHEVs can be driven on electric power for short distances, during which time they emit nothing from the tailpipe. BMW offers the widest range of such cars, with six PHEVs in its line-up.

But clean cars from more everyday brands will also be affected. A source from Cycle & Carriage said that the petrol-electric Kia Niro will also see its price rise in January, although the company does not yet know by how much. Stocks of the car are running low as buyers snap up the hybrid crossover from Korea in anticipation of the price hike.

With little more than four weeks to go before 2018 and the onset of VES, buyers interested in hybrid or PHEV cars are running out of time before their prices rise. Bringing forward a purchase decision to December could be a way to do something to save money in addition to helping to save the Earth.

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