LCQ13:Government promotes environment-friendly vehicles

     Following is a question by the Hon Lee Wing-tat and a written reply by the Acting Secretary for the Environment, Dr Kitty Poon, at the Legislative Council meeting today (January 19):


     Regarding the development of diesel commercial vehicles, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vehicles and electric vehicles (EVs), will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the respective numbers of LPG taxis and LPG public light buses in Hong Kong at present, their average life expectancy and service years upon retirement, and the levels of emissions (including respirable suspended particulates, nitrogen oxides, monoxides and hydrocarbons) of the aforesaid two types of vehicles introduced in each of the past 10 years, and the percentages of such levels of emissions in the total emissions in Hong Kong;

(b) of the number of diesel commercial vehicles in Hong Kong at present, their average life expectancy and service years upon retirement, and of the levels of emissions of diesel commercial vehicles in the past 12 months and the percentages of such levels of emissions in the total emissions in Hong Kong, together with a breakdown by vehicle type and model;

(c) whether the authorities had, in the past two years, studied using different ways to assist LPG taxi owners in switching to more environment-friendly vehicles or EVs; if they had, of the contents of the studies, as well as the estimated expenditure involved, vehicle replacement rate and impact on air quality of the vehicle replacement scheme; if not, the reasons for that;

(d) given that in his Policy Address delivered on October 14, 2009, the Chief Executive announced that the Government would supply around 200 EVs to the local market in the 2010-2011 financial year and work with the two power companies to launch an EV leasing scheme by the end of 2010, of the progress of the two schemes and, among them, the progress of promoting the use of commercial EVs; given that in reply to a question raised by a Member of this Council on May 19, 2010, the Secretary for the Environment (SEN) indicated that a British manufacturer of commercial EVs was planning to introduce various models of commercial EVs to Hong Kong in the second half of 2010, of the present progress of the plan concerned; and

(e) given that in reply to a question raised by a Member of this Council on May 19, 2010, SEN also indicated that the Government and the two power companies would set up charging stations for EVs at 25 other locations by mid 2010, whether such charging stations have been set up; if not, of the reasons for that; whether there are plans to increase the number of charging stations; if so, of the details and timetable of the plan; if not, the reasons for that?



(a) and (b) As of October 4, 2010, there were 18,135, 3,255 and 123,705 licensed LPG taxis, LPG light buses and diesel commercial vehicles respectively.  We do not have data on their life expectancy or service years before retirement.  However, over 10% of the LPG taxis, LPG light buses and diesel commercial vehicles are 11, 9 and 19 years or above of age respectively.  Please refer to Annex 1 for the requested emission data of these three categories of vehicles.

(c) On the market, EVs are now the vehicles that are more environmentally friendly than LPG taxis.  EVs can not only solve the roadside air pollution problem completely, but also reduce carbon emission and may help reduce the expenditure on fuel.  As for the local taxi trade, one of the important factors of its consideration in adopting electric taxis is whether they can meet the local operation requirements, especially their driving range per battery charge and the frequency of recharging their batteries.  To understand the suitability of EVs for use as local taxis, the best way is to encourage the taxi trade to use the "Pilot Green Transport Fund" (the Fund), which is being set up by the Government, to purchase electric taxis for trial.  Once the Fund is set up, we will actively encourage the taxi trade to use the Fund to try out electric taxis or other more environmentally friendly vehicles available on the market.  Based on the trial results, we will examine how to push the taxi trade to use greener taxis.

(d) To promote the wider adoption of EVs in Hong Kong, the Government has been exploring with different EV manufacturers the supply of their EVs to Hong Kong.  Three EV models, including EuAuto's "MyCar", Mitsubishi's "i-MiEV" and Tesla's "Roadster", have already been launched in the Hong Kong retail market.  Nissan has also agreed to advance the supply of its EVs, "LEAF", to Hong Kong, and will set aside some vehicles in the first batch of production of "LEAF" for supply to corporate users in Hong Kong.  Subject to market response, this batch of EVs is expected to arrive in Hong Kong in February to April 2011 at the earliest.  The Government will continue to promote EVs and encourage every sector of the community to adopt this green mode of transportation.

     In addition, the two local power companies have already launched their EV leasing scheme respectively since October 2010.  At this stage, they have procured more than ten EVs for leasing by corporate users.  

     As regards the supply of electric commercial vehicles from Smith, a British manufacturer, the Transport Department is processing relevant type approval.  These EVs can be launched in the market once the type approval has been obtained.

(e) By mid-2010, the two power companies had already installed 61 charging facilities all over the territory.  The Administration has then been in close collaboration with the property development, property management and car park operation sectors, encouraging them to install charging facilities for EVs.  As at end-2010, power companies and relevant sectors had set up about 180 charging points for use by members of the public free of charge.  The locations of these charging facilities have been uploaded onto the website of the Environment Bureau.

     Regarding future plans, the Administration is actively working with the relevant trades to set up more EV charging facilities.  On the other hand, the Administration announced in October 2010 a package of measures to foster a quality and sustainable built environment.  One of them is that gross floor area concession for newly built car parks will be granted only if the car park will put in place the infrastructure and conditions for charging EVs.  This arrangement will be applicable to new developments with their building plans submitted to the Buildings Department for approval on or after April 1, 2011.  These measures will help boost the number of EV charging facilities.

Ends/Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Issued at HKT 14:16