In Hong Kong, the transportation sector, second only to power generation in greenhouse gas emissions, is taking bold steps towards a cleaner future
The transportation sector is the second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, following only the power industry. Within the transportation sector, road traffic is the largest contributor to these emissions. Therefore, reducing emissions from road traffic is crucial for Hong Kong to achieve its net-zero emissions goal. The adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in place of traditional vehicles can help improve roadside air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, the widespread use of EVs can promote the development of the environmentally friendly industry.
To this end, the authority office released its first "Hong Kong Roadmap for the Popularisation of Electric Vehicles" on March 17, 2021. This roadmap outlines the long-term policy goals and plans for promoting the use of electric vehicles in Hong Kong, leading the way toward achieving zero vehicle emissions by 2050 to align with Hong Kong's commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050.
By August 2023, Hong Kong proudly boasts 65,935 electric vehicles, constituting 7.1% of the total vehicle count. Most notably, over 60% of new private car purchases are electric. The government is committed to deploying 3,000 electric taxis and 700 electric double-decker buses by 2027. Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB) has already introduced close to 80 electric single-decker buses.
In the realm of private vehicles, Hong Kong is on a mission to ban new gasoline car registrations by 2035, incentivizing the transition to electric. The government offers tax waivers and incentives to encourage first-time EV buyers. With electric cars fast approaching cost parity with traditional vehicles, the ban on new gasoline cars could be moved up to 2026-2030.
The shift to zero-emission buses is also on the agenda. Plans are in motion for both single-decker and double-decker electric buses, with cost parity expected between 2030 and 2033.
The transformation isn't limited to public transportation. The government is striving to introduce 3,000 electric taxis by the end of 2027. Economic incentives, including tax waivers, are making the transition appealing to taxi owners
As of the end of September 2023, Hong Kong has 7,085 charging points available to the public, including 3,950 medium-speed chargers and 1,092 fast chargers distributed across all 18 districts. As the use of electric vehicles increases, some issues have emerged, with the most significant being the inadequacy and inconvenience of charging facilities. To promote electric vehicles, a well-rounded charging infrastructure is essential, and the rapid deployment of fast charging stations is a top priority. The government is currently implementing the "Fuel Station to Charging Station" plan and will launch the first tender for such conversions this year, followed by another round next year. By adjusting the lease terms for fuel stations, it provides an incentive for current operators to install electric vehicle charging facilities. If fast charging stations are available at fuel stations, the lease contracts due to expire or expiring soon may be conditionally renewed, which is believed to accelerate the construction of charging points.
Furthermore, the government is taking steps to support the installation of charging points in private housing estates and public housing developments. Combined with the relaxation of space requirements for new buildings since 2011, it is estimated that there will be over 200,000 electric vehicle charging points in private car parks across Hong Kong in three years, a rapidly advancing effort.