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Transcript of remarks by SEN (with video)

Following is the transcript (English portion) of remarks made by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau, at a media session on the promotion of electric vehicles (EV) at the Central Government Offices today (September 21):

The Secretary for the Environment: The Steering Committee on the Promotion of Electric Vehicles chaired by the Financial Secretary held its second meeting today. We reviewed the progress of our work since May and were encouraged to note the increasing interest among different EV manufacturers in the Hong Kong market.  We also heard presentations from different car manufacturers or their representatives about the EV products that would be introduced into the market. The presentations covered EVs from Japan, the UK, the Mainland and Hong Kong. We noted a heightened interest among car manufactures in Hong Kong as one of their first markets in launching the new generation of EVs. We will demonstrate the Government¡¦s commitment in promoting the use of EVs as a means to combat air pollution and climate change by taking the lead in procuring the new commercially- available cars. The first batch of iMiEV, a total of 10 units, will be procured by the Government later this year. This will mark Hong Kong as one of the earliest city using these vehicles outside Japan. We are working seriously on this. We are also approaching other car manufacturers so that when they enter into commercial production, they will use Hong Kong as their first market.  Last but not the least, our two power companies are now working with car park operators for the installation of charging facilities at various locations.  So when the EVs actually arrive in Hong Kong, we will have these facilities available.  That concludes the basic discussion at today¡¦s Steering Committee meeting. I am happy to take your questions.

Reporter: Are these cars expensive? And they operate ¡K¡K¡Kto those running on petrol? Will the Government provide subsidies to encourage people to change?

The Secretary for the Environment: In the Budget, the Financial Secretary has already exempted the first registration tax for EV for another five years. In essence, EVs will be sold tax-free in Hong Kong. Initially, these cars might be sold at a relatively high price, like any other new products. You will remember the experience of cell phones.  When they were first introduced into the market, they were sold at an expensive price.  But don¡¦t forget the recurrent savings for EV compared to petrol cars. EVs offer a very wide margin of savings that will help build the economic proposition for it as a product. These are the things that we are working on.

Reporter: ¡K.the charging? ¡Kpopular in Hong Kong?

The Secretary for the Environment: The Government is taking the lead in bringing in EVs to underline Hong Kong's position as a green city.  We will see the EV technology applying to Hong Kong not just on a trial basis, but as a new mode of transportation that will contribute to enhancing our air quality and combatting climate change. This is only a small step in a long way, as car manufacturers are just beginning to embark on commercial production. In order to make Hong Kong an attractive market, we have taken a number of measures to bring them in, such waiving the first registration tax and proactively engaging the carmakers for them to include Hong Kong as their first market. The decision to procure 10 EVs will send another positive signal that Hong Kong is keen to introduce this new technology to the market.

Reporters: ¡K mileage of the car¡K.?

The Secretary for the Environment: This new model of EV is running well in Hong Kong. With a driving range of 100-160 km, it well covers the average mileage for most commuters in Hong Kong. The setting up of charging points also did not present a major challenge. The trial so far has confirmed that introducing EVs would be the way to go for Hong Kong.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Monday, September 21, 2009
Issued at HKT 21:13


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