Could these home-grown chargers jolt life into Hong Kong’s electric car market?

Hong Kong Productivity Council devises a wireless product for home use and a charger for private vehicle parks

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 July, 2017, 8:32pm
UPDATED : Monday, 24 July, 2017, 3:43pm

Good news if you drive an electric car – Hong Kong has devised a wireless system for the home that makes recharging easier and more flexible.

Based on overseas technology, the Hong Kong Productivity Council has also developed an e-car charger suitable for use in private car parks.

The wireless charger performs just as well as the wired version, with a medium-sized model releasing 7.7 kiloWatt charging power per hour, which would enable an e-car to run for 49km.

However, the government-backed body conceded that cost was a high barrier in commercialising the technology. A charger for a private car park costs HK$30,000, rising to HK$90,000 for an individual home.

Lawrence Cheung Chi-chong, director (technology development), said on Friday the council had spent a year and a half developing the products at a cost of more than HK$2 million.

“We hope to commercialise the technology within a year,” he said.

The technology could be the perfect solution for Hong Kong’s car parks, which are notorious for their lack of charging stations. When such stations are available, parking slots are often occupied by cars running off petrol or diesel.

Locky Law, the Tesla owner representative of electric vehicle group Charged Hong Kong, said demand for e-vehicles mainly depended on government policies or incentives.

Can electric vehicles ever really meet Hong Kong’s transport needs?

He added that the chargers were mainly applicable to private parking areas, which meant e-car owners would have to bear all the costs. And they needed to apply for a licence to install the product.

“Sales of e-vehicles have been almost zero in recent months since the revised rate of tax came into effect, which means the development of accessories are a nonsense that have few marketing prospects,” Law said.

Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po announced in February that the full waiver of First Registration Tax for e-cars – a measure in place for more than 20 years – would end on March 31, with the tax discount to be capped at HK$97,500. The move was aimed at curbing car growth and improving traffic.

This meant that from April 1, a Tesla Model S, which had cost HK$800,000, rose to about HK$1.5 million. Not a single newly purchased Tesla was registered in the whole of April.