Months of social unrest followed by the battle against the coronavirus pandemic have left little room for thinking about long-term planning. The government’s priorities have lain elsewhere. With the latest outbreaks of disease, a post-Covid-19 world may seem no closer, but it has not dropped out of sight. Future sustainability of our way of life looms as more important than ever. A reminder is the call for the government to broaden its coming road map for conversion to electric vehicles (EV) to include hybrid fossil fuel/electric models. It comes from a vehicle distributor involved in phasing out LPG-powered taxis with the introduction of lower-emission hybrids. The company is among stakeholders environment minister Wong Kam-sing has engaged as the government formulates a plan to popularise EVs. This follows the announcement of a HK$2 billion pilot scheme to subsidise EV parking spaces in private housing estates to encourage the adoption of green cars. The road map, due early next year, falls under the city’s Clean Air Plan and will spell out targets for replacing fossil-fuel vehicles with zero-emission EVs for private cars. The first battery-powered taxi trial fell through in 2017 because technology including charging times was deemed unsuitable. An executive of the taxi vehicle distributor said it had urged officials to adopt a flexible approach including tax breaks for hybrid vehicles as an interim measure. He said the conversion of the city’s 18,000-odd taxis to battery-powered ones could take a decade, during which hybrid vehicles could contribute to emissions reduction. Electric taxi road map should include hybrids, Hong Kong distributor says The extent of emission reductions is complicated by other factors, including whether the manufacture of batteries is powered by fossil fuels. Leaving aside the taxi distributor’s commercial interests, there is an argument for including hybrids in the debate about conversion to EVs. Singapore and Shenzhen treat plug-in hybrids as clean-energy vehicles for tax purposes. The coronavirus has reminded us of the fragility of public health. Post Covid-19, the government must focus on delivery of environmental goals. Clean air is paramount. Roadside pollution has to be one of the priorities.