HKPC Developing EV Charger Reservation System Tailored For Hong Kong
Unlike some countries or cities, Hong Kong’s unique geography is a natural fit for electric vehicles. But it also has its own unique set of problems experienced by current EV owners and charging facilities providers. I had a chance to speak with Dr. Lawrence Cheung who is the General Manager, APAS of HKPC (Hong Kong Productivity Council), to share his views.
Dr. Cheung explains that technical challenges have always been the easy part for their R&D team. The obstacles in deploying their solutions are support from the general public, businesses and local regulations/policies. Parking facilities developers or owners often don’t find the incentive in deploying charging facilities, not to mention limited space and power capacity requiring upgrade.
His team is developing a total solution package for business wanting to provide EV charging as value added service or purely for revenue generation. When deployed throughout the city, EV drivers can use a smartphone app to check for station availability status, nearest charging facility compatible to the vehicle AND allow charging reservation. Once a charging space is booked the app generates a barcode or similar on their smartphone. When the driver arrives at that location the barcode needs to be scanned by the charging unit to verify the EV driver before the charging is activated. If the drivers does not arrive before a certain time the space will be released to other EV drivers for immediate use or open for booking.
The charger also has an embedded payment feature that can support Octopus Card (a popular virtual cash system in Hong Kong accepted by most retail business, public transport, parking meter and garages) or a similar system on the market. The solution hopes to encourage more businesses to deploy charging station at their parking facilities.
HKPC has also recently received CHAdeMO certification for one of their combo charger projects headed by Mr Daniel Siu, Engineering Manager, APAS R&D center. He himself had spent weeks in Japan fine tuning the handshaking process before receiving their final approval. Dr. Cheung explains chargers that have not been certified could cause EV’s internal mechanism to drop connection to protect itself before charging is completed.
Also under development, a private firm requiring the need of mobile EV charger solution. Once completed it could be used to charge EV fleets or service vehicle at the airport terminal. Their department also does testing work for other government departments and one of the recent project is to test Tesla’s CHAdeMO adapter before being certified for local use. The test has been completed and the remaining process is likely the final paper work before local release.