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Electric dream set to make us a motor city

Electric Vehicles

First published: March 3, 2010

Source: The Standard

Hong Kong will soon boast an automobile industry – but unlike most motor cities, this one will be green.

In a joint venture with Taiwan and the mainland, Halo Motor plans to set up a small production line in the next two to three years and aims eventually to churn out 10,000 electric vehicles a year.

A research and development center is also to open in the Science Park by the end of this month.

Halo managing director Steve Chen Tzyh Trong says the development of green batteries will be handled by Taiwan, while Hong Kong will design and produce prototypes, and the mainland will eventually take charge of mass production.

As well as creating a Hong Kong brand for electric vehicle technology and manufacturing, Halo predicts earnings of US$10 billion (HK$78 billion) a year and 100,000 jobs when its plans for an industrial park for electric vehicles bears fruit.

“Hong Kong is an ideal city to develop electric vehicles because of the sound infrastructure,” Chen said.

“Pollution has come to represent our city, and the best solution to this would be to ensure that cars do not emit pollutant gases.”

Halo Motor unveiled its next-generation electric hatchback car prototype yesterday to demonstrate its capabilities.

It features a solar energy-based technology that allows recharging in three minutes.

It will be able to travel around 300 kilometers at 60kph per charge, with a maximum speed of 110kph.

Senior executive adviser Johnson Sung Liam-yung said the company is aiming to sell the car at a retail price of US$20,000 (HK$155,300), but this will not happen until there are enough charging stations.

Instead, the company pledged to gradually replace the 10,000 minibuses in Hong Kong and has started talks with the government to discuss subsidies and infrastructure.

“We will target the minibuses first, because they run fixed routes point-to-point, which will make it easier for infrastructure such as charging stations to be placed at specific positions along their routes,” Sung said.

The first electric minibus will be unveiled in September this year, and the first batch of deliveries should be ready in March 2011.

Chen urged the government to be more active in promoting the development of green vehicles by developing low-carbon emission zones.

Written by Kaylene Hong

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