Power company CLP, which introduced Hong Kong's first electric coach yesterday, says it plans eventually to replace all its staff shuttle buses with the non-polluting vehicles.
Mainly for staff transport, the 49-seater will also be available for trials by other organisations.
Managing director Richard Lancaster said that while the coach cost HK$3 million - double the price of an equivalent diesel vehicle - he believed it would prove economical as the power cost was 27 per cent that of diesel.
The coach - built in Shandong province - joins CLP's fleet of almost 60 electric vehicles, and can travel 250 to 300 kilometres on a three-hour charge. Chinese University, the Science and Technology Parks and Caritas have joined the test programme.
Lancaster gave no timetable for switching CLP's staff transport from diesel to electric.
"We are building [our electric vehicle fleet] over time. As new vehicles come onto the market, we would be buying those and introducing them to Hong Kong," he said. The coach can be charged at stations in Tsing Yi and Lung Kwu Tan.
Edmond Chan Kwai-wah, a senior manager for the company's smart grid infrastructure, said the extra cost could be nullified in a few years.
Raymond Lo Yuk-shun, managing director of dealer Great Dragon, said the public would soon see electric buses in Kowloon Bay and Discovery Bay. He said Hopewell Holdings had bought two coaches for its feeder service between the Kowloonbay International Trade and Exhibition Centre and Kowloon Bay MTR station, and two electric buses could be running in Discovery Bay by the end of the year.
Lo said many companies were interested in electric vehicles, but they hoped to see more examples in the city before buying them. Electric coaches were more common on the mainland, with more than 100 of them on the roads, he added.
The coach is made of aluminium alloy, 15 per cent lighter than diesel coaches, and has a lifespan of 17 years. The battery lasts for five to six years. The vehicle can travel at 80 km/h.
Buses in Hong Kong have a speed limit of 70km/h.
Meanwhile, mainland carmaker BYD is launching its first batch of 45 electric taxis in Hong Kong on Wednesday. The company plans to replace 3,000 taxis running on liquefied petroleum gas within two years.