Published on 02.11.2016

Hong Kong News: Electric mobility; a viable way for Hong Kong?

In just six years, the number of electric vehicles (EVs) in Hong Kong has increased significantly, largely on the back of government support, new technology and greater awareness of environmental protection as well as effective corporate marketing. How does the EV industry embrace the business opportunities as well as challenges?

A the Eco Expo Asia, which was held at the AsiaWorld-Expo in Hong Kong from 26 to 29 October Dr Lawrence Poon, Principal Consultant, Automotive & Electronics Division, Automotive Parts and Accessory Systems R&D Centre of the Hong Kong Productivity Council was speaking at one session on “The Smart EV Charging Solutions for the Smart City”.

He quoted statistics showing the rapid increase of EVs in Hong Kong, from just 242 in 2011, to 552 in 2013 and a huge jump to 4,198 in 2014 and 6,167 as of August 2016. According to him, Elon Musk, founder and Chief Executive Officer of American EV maker Tesla Motors, named Hong Kong as one of the fast-growing EV markets worldwide, as well as the best market for promoting the brand.

While the EV market is expanding, the increase in the number of EV charging stations must also get up to speed in Hong Kong. There were only 180 charging stations in Hong Kong in 2010, though the figure rose to 1,300 as of June 2016. Ninety per cent of the charging stations are medium-speed (two-hour charging time for 0 to 100%), in addition to about 70 high-speed charging stations (30 minutes).

Dr Poon indicated that EV charging stations in Hong Kong are heading towards the third phase. “The first phase was prior to 2012 when charging speed was slow (e.g., 40 hours to fully charge Tesla Model S); the second phase, wall-mounted and medium-speed charging stations use comparatively thin chargers that are reasonably priced.” As for third-phase high-speed charging stations, they are relatively large in size, about one-third the size of a regular car parking space.

He predicted that the ratio of EVs will increase to between 40 per cent and 50 per cent of the total number of vehicles in Hong Kong in the next 10 years. While the increase will create significant demand for high-speed charging stations, it will also present certain challenges. “Many buildings in Hong Kong were built more than 10 years ago, and they have no allocated space for installing an EV charging system,” he noted.

The take away is: More Charging Stations Needed To Promote EVs