Clean electricity generation key to pollution-free traffic

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 November, 2015, 4:31pm
UPDATED : Friday, 13 November, 2015, 4:31pm

I wish to follow up on the letter by Simon Wang ("Electric buses are far from 'zero emission'", November 9), where I feel there has either been a degree of either misunderstanding or misinformation.

Firstly, it is correct to say that electric buses are the cause of emissions during their manufacture and through their use of electricity generated in less than an environmentally clean fashion.

As a vehicle manufacturer, I can assure Mr Wang that the emissions generated during the production of vehicles is an insignificant fraction of the potential emissions (from either diesel engines or electricity generation) throughout a bus's 18-year lifespan.

Also when compared with cars (driverless or otherwise) the production of 34-plus cars to carry the same number of passengers as a modern bus makes the manufacturing emissions of the bus insignificant.

Secondly, as a vehicle manufacturer, while we provide the conduit for clean cities with zero tailpipe emissions I would advise that environmental attention may be well spent by also looking at ways of clean electricity generation.

All of today's global electricity requirements could be met by solar farms taking up no more than 0.1 per cent of the earth's surface area and this is where efforts would be better focused ensuring that the zero emissions buses are truly so from "well-to-wheel".

Finally, while I do not disagree with the development of autonomous vehicles, in cars it would not reduce traffic congestion by any significant amount as the same number of individual vehicles would be clogging the roads at any one time.

Such a reduction is only possible through the widespread adoption of public transport such as double-deck buses carrying 138 passengers that occupy only 12 metres of road space versus the same space with two cars carrying eight passengers at best. As with most densely-populated world cities, Hong Kong has a limited amount of road space for the number of users requiring it so it must be used as intelligently and efficiently as possible. Cars, public or private, are not the solution.

I join with Mr Wang in supporting the development of autonomous vehicle technologies but for it to be sensibly used in a public transport model powered by solar-generated electricity.

Paul Bromley, chief technical officer, Green Dynamic Electric Vehicle