Thursday, 30 July 2015

Auto & Opinions: Hong Kong's EV Development feat. The Issue of ICE Vehicles Occupying Charging Spots

Cyberport's "encouraging" poster to promote the use of charging spots for general parking
Image from Facebook

Two topics I want to talk about here today, one is Hong Kong's EV development, the other is the issue of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles occupying charging spots.

Progress of EV in Hong Kong
Image from Locky's English Playground, data from Environmental Protection Department HK
First of all, it is amazing how the progress of EV in Hong Kong has changed in just about 12 months' time. From the graph above, we can see a steady yet steep increase in the number of EVs since July 2014. Much of this increase in EV number has to do with Tesla's amazing Model S which began their Hong Kong delivery since 23rd July 2014 as well as the First Registration Tax (FRT) waiver. Quoting from the Environmental Protection Department website,

"As at end of May 2015, there are 2246 EVs for road use, up from less than 100 in end 2010."

This translates to a jump of 22.46 folds in just 5 years, and 72.4% of this jump happened in less than a year. According to my rough estimation, assuming that non-Tesla EVs increase steadily at a rate of 20 per month, which is roughly the monthly increase of EVs before Model S had arrived in Hong Kong, there are about 1800 (= 2246 - 200-ish BMW i3 -20 x 10 months) Tesla Model S on the road at the end of May 2015. Adding that Hong Kong has now the highest density of Tesla superchargers in the world, that is 8 supercharging stations -- 36 stalls in total or 50 Model S per supercharger, together with what Elon Musk said at the Q4 conference in Feb 2015 that "Sales in Hong Kong are excellent", I would say my estimate is about right.

The source of electricity in Hong Kong has been extensively discussed in another one of my blog entries titled, Science & Environment : Do EVs Really Do More Harm Than Good? And if that isn't enough, here is a very nice video that adds knowledge,

 and some extra details from the CLP Power HK Online:

Image from CLP Online
Image from CLP Online

But with more and more EVs in Hong Kong, related problems begin to show. Not that there are problems with EVs themselves, but with those who are anti-EVs. Taken in May 2014 at Cyberport Hong Kong by a Tesla Model S owner, the following video has gained over 39,000 views on Facebook and near 4000 views on YouTube:

Image from Locky's English Playground

Occupying EV charging spots isn't unique to Hong Kong, but Hong Kong is probably one of the few places on Earth that does not penalise such a notorious act. There is no laws protecting EV charging spaces in Hong Kong, and so some ICE owners treat charging spaces like normal parking spaces where they park for hours, days or even weeks.
Hyundai H1 car plate RG 6366 occupies Tesla superchargers at Cyberport since 29th July 2015
Image from Sony Wong
In this particular incidence, Cyberport car park staff I have spoken to claims that there is nothing they can do mainly because

  1. There is no law regarding ICE occupying charging spaces, so RG 6366 has the right to do so.
  2. RG 6366 has paid for monthly-parking.
  3. Tesla paid half rent for their parking spaces, not full, and therefore they cannot take action on RG 6366.

Hyundai H1 car plate RG 6366 occupies Tesla superchargers at Cyberport since 29th July 2015
Image from Linus Van Pelt
If this is really the case and the Cyberport logic is right, then it means they can only sit and wait for the owner of RG 6366 to be willing to move away, and if this is a car the owner decides to abandon but is willing to pay for parking fee, it will be parked at the Cyberport superchargers forever!

EV supporters from around the world commenting on Cyberport Facebook page on their handling of RG 6366
Image from Cyberport Facebook page
News has spread fast through the internet and EV supporters from around the world are commenting on Cyberport's official Facebook page and there is no sign of stopping.

EV supporters from Denmark commenting on Cyberport Facebook page on their handling of RG 6366
Image from Cyberport Facebook page
However, according to the CAP 374C ROAD TRAFFIC (PARKING) REGULATIONS reg 19 Powers of attendants and CAP 374C ROAD TRAFFIC (PARKING) REGULATIONS reg 25 Offences in relation to car parks, car parks and their attendants have the absolute right to implement regulations to protect EV owners' right in using charging stations. Non-government car parks such as those of Hopewell, Time Square and Hong Kong Jockey Club, have put up signs and notices and taken actions against ICE vehicles occupying charging stations, even without taking a single cent from Tesla. It is therefore the choice of Cyberport car park management to enable anti-EVs' bullying, or to end this nonsense once and for all.

The big question is, car parks like Cyberport, will they ever do anything good for the EV community without any forms of monetary compensation?

A sign at a HKJC car park
Image from Raymond Choi
A group of us have created some printables for these charging station occupiers which is shown below and can be download here. Education is the best way to tackle such issue and this is as mild as it gets.

Image from TMC
Disclaimer, or something like that:

Locky Law
Tesla Motors Group Representative
Hong Kong Electric Vehicle Association

************************Updated on 1st August 2015**********************************

Cyberport replied with great news!
Image from Locky's English Playground
This morning, I checked Facebook page and I was greeted with good news from fellow Model S owners. Cyberport has taken effort to respond to our comments and complaints with positive attitude. As shown in the image above,

"Therefore, effective 7 August 2015, any non-EV found occupying the EV charging space will be impounded without prior notice."

Cyberport responded positively to my blog entry and I also respond to them
Image from Locky's English Playground
My response to them was,

"We all know that "vehicle broken down" is an excuse by the owner, his action to park at the Tesla superchargers speaks for his intention. But still appreciate your work for the EV community and improvement in terms of car park regulation. Without stricter rules, anti-EVs will just kep repeating their occupying of EV charging stations. This is the right kind of attitude in responding to government's promotion of EV for cleaner air in Hong Kong."

But to be fair, I also wrote a reply and a formal official email to Cyberport as follows:

Dear Cyberport car park management

As the Tesla Owner Group Representative of Charged Hong Kong​, I would like to express my gratitude on behalf of the Hong Kong EV community to the Cyberport management for taking EV-owners' comments seriously and have promptly reacted to our requests! 

Your contributions to the EV community is deeply appreciated and will be remembered by EV-owners worldwide. You have set yet another good example for the rest of the car parks in Hong Kong which do not provide any sorts of protection for EV-charging rights. 

We hope that the said impoundment of non-EV vehicles at charging spots will be strictly implemented while at the same time consider expanding such impoundment on non-charging EVs occupying charging spots, like Time Square car park does for instance, because a non-charging EV blocking a charger is equally disturbing.

We look forward to further communication between us. Together, we can make Hong Kong a better and cleaner place for all.

Best regards
Locky Law
Tesla Motors Group Representative
9572-9200 |
Hong Kong Electric Vehicle Association

Promotion of Electric Vehicles in Hong Kong @Environmental Protection Department

Science & Environment : Do EVs Really Do More Harm Than Good? @ Locky's English Playground

Progress of EV in Hong Kong +Tesla Motors Club

Hong Kong now has highest density of Tesla superchargers in the world @ SCMP

Tesla Live Blog: Q4 Earnings Conference Call Recap @ benzinga

Hong Kong on charge to make it more EV friendly +Reuters

Volts for Oil | Fully Charged @ YouTube

Benefits of using EV @CLP Online

BMW A-Hole at Tesla's Cyberport Superchargers (Please share) +YouTube

Auto: Tesla Model S-friendly Car Park Map with your Model S' 17" Hack @ Locky's English Playground

Auto & Opinions: Best Tesla Model S-Friendly Car Park Map For Hong Kong @ Locky's English Playground

CAP 374C ROAD TRAFFIC (PARKING) REGULATIONS reg 25 Offences in relation to car parks

CAP 374C ROAD TRAFFIC (PARKING) REGULATIONS reg 19 Powers of attendants

Sign for ICE/EV-but-not charging owners (Printable A4 size) (ICE Sign