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LCQ 19: The wider use of electric vehicles

     Following is a question by the Hon Cheung Hok-ming and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau, at the Legislative Council meeting today (December 1):


     The Chief Executive indicated in last year's Policy Address that the Environment Bureau (ENB) had been working with a number of electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers, and the Government expected a supply of around 200 EVs for the local market in this financial year.  Yet, it has been reported recently that there would only be 20 EVs available for renting early next year.  In addition, under the restrictions of the existing regulations, EV owners have to apply for special permits before they can drive EVs on an expressway.  Regarding the ways for actually making Hong Kong the "second in Asia, after Japan, where EVs are most widely used" as stated in last year¡¦s Policy Address, will the Government inform this Council:

(a)of the actual number of EVs being supplied to Hong Kong at present; of the discrepancy between the actual supply and the Government¡¦s anticipated supply; of the reasons for such discrepancy;

(b)given that ENB indicated at the meeting of the Panel on Environmental Affairs held on June 22, 2009 that, since EVs did not have any cylinder, under the existing restrictions of the Road Traffic (Expressway) Regulations (Cap.374 sub.leg.Q), EV owners who wished to drive their EVs in Hong Kong would need to apply for special permits according to the Regulations, of the time required for the Government to vet and approve applications for such special permits; apart from applying for such permits, whether there are other restrictions in relation to owners' driving their EVs on roads; whether the Government will revise the relevant regulations gearing to the policy of extensively promoting the use of EVs; and

(c)whether the Government has carried out studies together with the Mainland on the support and integration (such as the technology for charging batteries) in relation to the use of EVs in both the Mainland and Hong Kong, so as to complement the long-term development of using EVs; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



(a)To promote the wider use of EVs in Hong Kong, the Government has been discussing with and encouraging different EV manufacturers to introduce their EVs into Hong Kong.  Earlier on, Mitsubishi's "i-MiEV", Tesla's "Roadster" and EuAuto's "MyCar" were launched in the local retail market.  For Mitsubishi's "i-MiEV" and Tesla's "Roadster", Hong Kong is the first Asian city outside Japan where they have been launched in the retail market.  Smith, a commercial EV manufacturer, also plans to launch their commercial EVs in Hong Kong by the end of this year.  Nissan has also decided to provide some units of "LEAF" out of its first batch of EV production for supply to corporate clients in Hong Kong.  The first "Nissan LEAF" is expected to arrive in February 2011, subject to the placement of purchase orders.  Hong Kong will be the first Asian market of this car outside Japan.

     As at mid-November 2010, there were altogether 85 EVs for road use in Hong Kong.  We believe that the figure will increase as more EVs, which are being developed and put to commercial production worldwide, enter the Hong Kong market.

(b)At present, if a certain EV model certified by the Transport Department (TD) after a vehicle type approval process is assessed to be suitable for use on an expressway, its registered owner may apply to TD for an expressway permit under the Road Traffic (Registration and Licensing of Vehicles) Regulations so that it can be used on an expressway.  An EV owner may apply for vehicle first registration and an expressway permit at the same time.  In general, the permit, together with the vehicle registration document and the vehicle licence, can be issued to the applicant on the second working day after the application.  As for road use, like users of other vehicles, EV users must abide by road traffic regulations and codes.  TD will formulate measures to facilitate the introduction of EVs into Hong Kong with reference to international practices as well as the performance and use of EVs.

(c)Most EVs currently available for sale in Hong Kong can be charged with the common domestic 3-rectangular-pin socket outlet. To support car park operators, property management companies and property developers in the provision of suitable EV charging facilities, the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) has prepared the "Technical Guidelines on Charging Facilities for Electric Vehicles" (Technical Guidelines) and is actively liaising with the trade to provide technical information.  EMSD will continue to keep in view the development in the standards of charging facilities around the world (including the Mainland) to update the Technical Guidelines in a timely manner.  It will also ensure that the local EV charging facilities can both meet the practical needs in Hong Kong and keep in line with the international standards.

Ends/Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Issued at HKT 12:26


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