Tesla CEO Elon Musk Says Hong Kong Is A “Beacon City” For Electric Cars


(InsideEVs/Alex Wai - Model S Event This Year In Hong Kong)

(InsideEVs/Alex Wai – Model S Event This Year In Hong Kong)

Earlier this year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk visited Hong Kong in part to usher in the Tesla-era in the city (our own Alex Wai attended that event – details/video).

Prior to Tesla’s arrival in Hong Kong, cumulative electric car sales were in the hundreds. But since the Model S’ arrival, sales shot through the roof with some 3,000 electric cars registered by October 2015 and more than 4,500 registered by the end of January 2016.

Most of the electric cars on Hong Kong’s roads are Tesla’s (2,000 sold in 2015 alone) and that’s perhaps what prompted Musk to state the following during his visit:

Musk called Hong Kong a “beacon city for electric vehicles” that could “serve as an example to the rest of the world on what to do.” 

Hong Kong’s population density is so high and it’s public transport so well thought out that few residents own private cars. Furthermore, there are significant fees placed on purchasing private ICE cars. These fees are in place to restrict usage and control pollution. However, electric cars aren’t subjected to these fees, making them desirable.

The only real problem in Hong Kong is lack of residential charging (most residents live in multi-unit housing). Tesla can’t solve the residential charging issue, but the automaker has worked to install free public charging throughout the city. Hong Kong currently has 1,300 public chargers, or 1 for every ~4 electric cars on its roads and those chargers are spaced out by no more than 13 miles.

The Guardian adds:

“As of July last year, Hong Kong had the highest density of Tesla superchargers in the world, but drivers in Hong Kong say that is still insufficient. Hong Kong’s public charging stations (which include the Tesla ones) are mostly made up of slow chargers, which may take several hours to fully charge a vehicle’s battery. Of the 1,300 stations available, only 200 are medium chargers and 157 are quick chargers.”

But still, with only 31 square miles of land, Hong Kong basically has a charger right around the next corner, which can’t be said of places like the U.S. where the nearest public charger could be hundreds of miles away.

Source: The Guardian

Categories: Tesla

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12 Comments on "Tesla CEO Elon Musk Says Hong Kong Is A “Beacon City” For Electric Cars"

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As has been asked by others: Why does Hong Kong even need Superchargers at all? Superchargers are best placed between major cities. In Hong Kong, that would put it outside the borders of Hong Kong, and in mainland China. Considering how limited cross-border traffic is allowed between HK and mainland China, I’d think they wouldn’t need more than just a few stalls.

As it is, I rather suspect most use of Superchargers in HK is for local charging, despite Tesla’s intent that they be used only for long-distance travel.

If you’re in apartment and no home / work charging available, you have to use supercharger, whether that’s free or not. The question is, what density of DCFC is enough? This will make for interesting experiment; if Hong Kong can solve charging issue, that will be death knell for FCEV.

What SparkEV said, but additionally the apartment dwellers with no home charging may only need to charge once a week, but don’t want to wait 4 – 8 hours.

I don’t think HK is doing themselves any favours encouraging EV purchases. I suppose if there are going to be any cars on the island they should be EVs, but seems public transport and bikes are really all that is viable to avoid total gridlock with that many people in a small area.

Lots of people walk, it’s very vertical. I think ev skateboards would be useful there. Regarding evs, they certainly are preferable to ices. If people want to drive they will, so it’s best if they are using evs.

If 1300 chargers in land the size of a postage stamp is not enough, maybe EV isn’t right for them. Is Sven right in advocating for FCEV in high population density areas?

Autonomous Uber EVs will win in very dense cities. Running costs alone will make that so.

It’s not the number of chargers, it’s the ratio of chargers to EVs. For BEVs, the number needs to be between 2:1 and 1:1. It’s still cheaper than FCEV… no reason to go there.

HK public transportation is very good, but double-decker diesel buses still dominate the streets (next to the century-old electric trolley line, which usually runs at full capacity). Taxis are all LPG. Personal vehicles are the ultimate status symbol, so they tend to be spendy, with the more appropriate ‘city cars’ being in commercial fleets (Mitsubishi i-MiEV and electric microvans and mini-trucks are used by utility workers and traffic enforcement). Heavy hybrid buses with small constant-output REX gensets and all-electric acceleration would make the biggest difference. There are already huge bus depots/terminals ready for electrification.

HK is a beacon?

A beacon for class difference and crowded congested city.

A beacon for where you don’t need a large battery EV.

A beacon for EV owners who actually need public DCFC charging since they don’t have their own access.

It isn’t really a beacon but rather a test bed for any/all crowded cities.

It is also unique that people are less likely to drive out of the city as in other part of the world since Mainland China drives on the opposite side of road, so it is really no point of having a huge battery car.

Cars like Fiat500e, Spark EV are more than enough.

Rich people in HK buys Tesla just for showing off and lower restriction. I agree that is better to buy Tesla than RR, S class or other ultra low efficiency car. but it is certainly not a beacon.

You want a Beacon? Try Norway.

Hong Kong is not just the city streets you see on TV. There are also large parts of the territory that are countryside and undeveloped. Public transportation in the city centres and new town developments is great, but a large portion of the population relies on private transportation.

For example, my commute to work by private car is 25 minutes, and by public transportation 2 hours (a 1km walk to nearest bus, then bus to nearest station, then a couple of train rides, then another 1 wall). 4 hour round trip.

So for those who say that cars have no place in HK, have a thought for those who don’t live in the city centre.

Private transportation will always have a place here, and the goal is to electrify that. Range is not an issue, but charging facilities are. Sure, there are 1,110+ public charging stations, but 1,000 of those are 13A 220V sockets – completely useless for a 2 hour shopping centre visit. The hurdle here is enabling charging in home and office building car parks. If that can be solved, then HK can truly become Elon’s beacon. 100% electrification of personal and public transportation is a very achievable goal here.

Thanks for chiming in! Good comment, as I was wondering about some of the assumptions being made above.