LCQ17: Promoting the popularisation of electric taxis
There are views that electric vehicles (EVs) showcase a new trend of transport development which would help Hong Kong achieve the goal of carbon neutrality before 2050, thereby contributing to sustainable development. Meanwhile, the Government has mentioned in the latest Policy Address the introduction of about 3 000 electric taxis (e-taxis) by end-2027. Regarding the promotion of the popularisation of e-taxis, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the current number of e-taxis with approvals for operation in Hong Kong and their percentage in the overall number of taxis in Hong Kong;
(2) given that the Government will, in the medium to long term, gradually convert some existing petrol filling stations and gas filling stations into quick charging stations to address the charging needs of e-taxis and other EVs, of the relevant details and specific implementation timetable; and
(3)apart from the Dedicated 100% Loan Guarantee Scheme for Battery Electric Taxis, of the Government's preferential policies to further promote the popularisation of e-taxis?
The Environment Bureau in March 2021 announced the Hong Kong Roadmap on Popularisation of Electric Vehicles (EV Roadmap), which guides Hong Kong towards its goal of attaining zero vehicular emissions before 2050. Under the EV Roadmap, the Government will proactively promote trials of various electric public transport and commercial vehicles including electric taxis (e-taxis), with a view to mapping out a concrete proposal and timetable in around 2025. The Chief Executive's 2022 Policy Address further sets out the medium-term target of introducing about 3 000 e-taxis by end-2027. To further promote the application of e-taxis, the Government proposed in the 2023-24 Budget to put in place a loan scheme providing 100% guarantee for the taxi trade. The scheme aims to encourage taxi owners to replace their existing taxis with pure e-taxis.
In consultation with the Transport and Logistics Bureau and the Environmental Protection Department, I would like to reply to the question raised by the Dr Hon Tan Yueheng as follows:
(1) As at end of April 2023, there are five pure e-taxis in Hong Kong, representing less than one per cent of the total number of 18 163 taxis.
(2) The Government has set up an inter-departmental working group to discuss the arrangements of site selection and necessary conditions for selecting suitable petrol filling stations and liquefied petroleum gas stations for the provision of quick charging services. We are liaising with relevant government departments regarding the land lease arrangements of the sites, and plan to invite tenders within this year for the conversion of the first petrol filling station site into a quick charging station.
(3) The Government currently promotes the use of electric commercial vehicles through offering financial incentives, including full waiver of first registration tax. Enterprises are also allowed to claim full profits tax deduction for their capital expenditure on procurement of EVs (including e-taxis) in the first year after procurement.
The Government has been encouraging the taxi trade to test new generation e-taxis via subsidy provided by the New Energy Transport (NET) Fund. Under "Applications for Trial" of NET Fund, eligible taxi owners can be subsidised for the price difference between an e-taxi and its conventional counterpart, or 50 per cent of the cost of the e-taxi, whichever is higher. Seventy-five per cent of the cost of charging facility (including the charger and its installation) are also subsidised under NET Fund. Relevant subsidy will be provided on a reimbursement basis. As of April 2023, NET Fund has approved the trials of 26 e-taxis, including 23 new generation e-taxis, of which two urban e-taxis have commenced operations since September last year and January this year respectively.
In addition, the Government has also created a new category for trial projects on e-taxi charging mode under "Applications for Trial" of NET Fund to support the taxi trade to identify the charging options that are most suitable for their operation. Total subsidy ceiling for each applicant is $20 million, or 75 per cent of the total project cost (whichever is lower). We are working on the subsidy framework and will announce the application details in a timely manner.
Ends/Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Issued at HKT 12:00
Issued at HKT 12:00