Tuesday 18 February 2014

Auto & Opinions: Concerns Of A Prospective Tesla Model S Owner

Tesla Model S with its Signature Red
Image from Tesla Motors
Ever since The New York Times interview, Tesla has coincidentally moved much much faster. Six days ago, Tesla announced the price of Model S in Hong Kong, to much delight of the Hong Kong buyers, it was again A Fair Price!

Model S Pricing for Hong Kong
Image from Tesla Motors HK
If you want a Model S that looks signature enough, you simply need the 60kWh Battery model plus a Red Multi-Coat Paint and a Panoramic Roof, priced at HK$610,000. Might look like a lot of money but if you are thinking long term economic value, such as no petrol is needed, it's actually acceptable. (For a more calculation, please read Auto: BMW 520iA Review feat. Tesla Model S.)

Quoting SCMP

In Hong Kong, where luxury cars are more widespread, the Model S is retailing at a price similar to its cost in the United States (US$62,400).
“To treat our customers in Hong Kong as fairly as possible, we are offering the Model S at the same retail price that customers in the US pay, adding only unavoidable transportation costs, and applying the current market exchange rate,” said Jerome Guillen, Vice President of Tesla’s international sales and service department.
Pre-orders for the Model S in Hong Kong exceeded 300 last July - a figure that surpasses the number of electric cars currently on city streets.

There are several key messages here which might shed light to the FRT which should be discussed on the 26th February, Next Wednesday -- the 2014/15 Budget Day. 

Concern 1:
Will the government extend First Registration Tax waiver?

Judging from the price listed on the China Model S pricing blog post, the tax is actually in the calculation. Such tax isn't included in the Hong Kong pricing or in the words from Jerome Guilien, which could signal a possible extension of a FRT waiver. Together with a piece of insider news that the government is going to extend the FRT waiver, it is looking very promising.

However, I have other concerns.

Concern 2:
Monthly-paid parking space with charging points?

Reasonably priced monthly-paid parking spaces with charging points are extremely rare in Hong Kong.

Take for example, I asked Hang Lung Properties last year and they quoted me

  1. $2400 monthly in a designated Hang Lung Carpark but no charging
  2. $3200 monthly multiparking at all Hang Lung Carparks but no charging
  3. $3800 monthly multiparking at all Hang Lung Carparks with unlimited charging

What they didn't (maybe still don't) offer is the $2400 with unlimited charging.

This year, they have up the price of plan 2 from $3200 to $3700!!!! Blood-sucker!!!

What should I do if I can't find a place to charge my car and park it at the same time?

Shopping malls such as IFC does offer electric vehicle chargers, but you can't get to it unless you pay for the parking and their chargers are not exactly "quick". We are talking about hours of parking for the charging.

Concern 3:
Where would Tesla build their supercharging stations In Hong Kong?
Tesla's supercharging stations
Image from Tesla Motors

What makes Tesla superior and successful is not only their amazing EVs, but the infrastructure the company builds for the Tesla EV owners which are free of charge.

But will they do the same in Hong Kong? Let's not forget, it's FREE super high speed charging plus FREE-parking like you see in the vidoe above. Is that even possible in Hong Kong where ever inch is gold? If they do build supercharging stations in Hong Kong, would it be real remote?

"Tesla is planning to build a network of Superchargers in Hong Kong"
Image and wordings from Tesla Motors
Tesla Motors Design Studio has this subtitle under the "Supercharger Enabled" option, stating

"Tesla is planning to build a network of Superchargers in Hong Kong"

Charging Stations in Hong Kong by EV Power
Image from Hong Kong EV Power

I hope they do realise that most of the EV chargers in Hong Kong are standard chargers inside paid carparks which make them almost completely useless other than looking good on Google map.

Concern 4:
Will there be enough charging points for all EVs in Hong Kong?

The short answer is No!

According to Environmental Protection Department, at the end of 2013, there are 592 EVs in use and only some 1 000 standard EV chargers plus 10 quick chargers in Hong Kong. When they say quick chargers, it means the 50kW CHAdeMO standard, which is largely popular in Japan.

My worry is that with 400 Model S and 592 other EVs on the road, I might have to get up at 3am to get an available charging space.

CHAdeMO charger
Image from charge.yazaki-group.com

Worse comes to worst, if I cannot find a monthly-paid parking space with charging, then I will go for a cheap parking space without a charger and then visit one of those "CHAdeMO" standard charger once to twice a week, should there be no superchargers available by then.

The best case scenario is that there is at least one supercharger near where I live. I don't mind Causeway Bay, but Heng Fa Chuen and Chai Wan are good enough for me.


Auto: Interviewed by The New York Times @ Locky's English Playground

Auto: BMW 520iA Review feat. Tesla Model S @ Locky's English Playground

Design Studio @ Tesla Motors

A Fair Price @ Tesla Motors Blog

Tesla announces Hong Kong prices for its Model S electric car @ SCMP

Latest News - Motor Vehicles First Registration Tax System @ Custom Excise Department

Promotion: Hong Kong @ Hang Lung Properties Limited

Promotion of Electric Vehicles in Hong Kong @ EPD

EV Charging Stations @ HK Electric

Bjørn's Tesla Model S #3: Driving 1600 km/1000 mi and sleeping in the Tesla @ YouTube