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Times 12 Aug 07
From Porsche to hybrid
TELLING a speed enthusiast to drive a hybrid car is like asking a meat lover to go vegetarian.
But Mr Low Teo Ping (left), Singapore Sailing Federation president, Singapore Rugby Union president and former vice-president of the Automobile Association of Singapore, has done just that: selling a Porsche Targa for Lexus hybrid models.
'I made the switch because of my conscience,' says Mr Low, 62, a father of two who owns the Lexus hybrid sports utility vehicle RX400h and luxury sedan LS600h. 'My family and I feel good about the fact that we can contribute a little bit to the environment.'
Hybrid cars have petrol engines that are supplemented by electric motors with regenerative power. The RX400h costs $201,000 and LS600h $422,000.
'At the end of the day, the (hybrid) car is not lacking in performance and reliability, plus there are savings to your pocket,' he says.
He estimates savings on fuel of up to 70 per cent compared to a regular car.
While car enthusiasts compare notes on the top speeds of their fuel-guzzling machines, Mr Low finds himself in a race to lower fuel consumption instead.
'The habit of reducing fuel usage has been ingrained in the family and my wife and I are trying to beat each other in fuel consumption,' he says.
His hybrid cars have computerised systems which tally the amount of petrol consumed for a given distance, and he finds himself constantly keeping his driving in check.
When asked why he hasn't made a much greener switch to public transport, Mr Low says he often has to drive - in one day - from the Singapore Sailing quarters in the East Coast to the Singapore Rugby Union in Yio Chu Kang and sometimes to Sentosa, as he is a member of the Sentosa executive committee.
'Just because one has to lose weight doesn't mean he or she has to stop eating altogether,' he jokes.
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