Saturday 17 December 2016

Charged Hong Kong Members' Stories #011 --Ms. Lydia Lee & Mr. Andrew Crampton

Lydia and Andrew's EV fleet and their charger
Photo by Andrew and Lydia

Locky Law (LL): It’s been awhile since our last Charged Hong Kong Members’ Story. Luckily, we have just the right Christmas gift for you all! In Hong Kong, most family own one EV, this family owns two, what’s rare about it is they own a Tesla Model S and a VolksWagen e-Golf, both very new! Two EVs which are very different in terms of aesthetics and size. Let’s welcome Andrew and Lydia, who will share their exciting 'Tale of Two EVs' with us today. Thank you for your time Andrew and Lydia.

Andrew Crampton (AC): Thanks Locky.

Lydia Lee (Lydia): Thank you, Locky.

LL: Lydia and Andrew, could you tell us something about yourselves first?

AC: I’m originally from Australia. But have lived in HK since the mid 90s. I used to work for a private equity group doing their due diligence. I've been "retired" quite a few years already.
Lydia: I grew up in HK, left for the UK to study, started working at 16 and lived there for 12 years.  A Civil engineer by profession and I am not fortunate enough like Andrew who has retired some years ago. Andrew is like a monk, doesn't smoke, doesn’t drink and he became a vegetarian since 12. We don't have kids and not planning to have any.

AC: We like to travel over breeding.

LL: Haha, okay. My first question is, why EVs in Hong Kong?

AC: Being an asthmatic, the air quality is important to me. I've hiked quite a bit in HK, Taiwan and Europe, so I see first hand the difference in air quality. Having an EV over and ICE is logical choice, especially in HK where commutes are shorter than most big cities. It is no fun to breathe through an exhaust pipe. Lydia drives a lot of compared to average drivers in HK, so it's also an economic choice. EVs are much cheaper to run than ICE vehicles. Plus, she builds roads and tunnels we drive on!

LL: Does that have anything to do with your choice of owning an EV in HK?

Lydia: My past projects are mostly drainage tunnels and now road tunnels. The Central Wanchai Bypass tunnel would be the first tunnel in HK have an Air Purification System (APS) installed. So the air inside the tunnel would be treated before going into the atmosphere. I visited one of the major city tunnels in Madrid, who has an APS installed and the operator told us, since the vehicles have been changing to better fuel and better exhausts emissions, the usage of that APS is a lot less. It proves how much ICE vehicles are polluting the atmosphere. So for me to show others that EVs is a way forward, not building APS is the least I can do. An APS is to solve a problem but not fix the cause of the problem. To use an EV is to fixes the problem at the source.

LL: Why the Tesla Model S?

Lydia: I owned my car since 18, had quite a variety of cars since but all ICE cars and learned about Tesla from my Canadian Chinese friend Ed who owns a Roadster since 2012.  I just really would like to own and drives a legend ever since. Therefore, once I can afford one, I change to Model S without second thought. Another major Tesla would be to support a visionary who developed the technology and made EV possible for masses.

LL: So, getting Tesla Model S was Lydia's call?

Lydia: Yes. Model S is mine. Andrew prefers smaller cars.

AC: Actually I delayed her model S purchase for about 12 months.

LL: How so?

AC: I wanted to wait until the technology had matured a little more. Also the build quality has improved over that time for the model S.

Photo from

LL: Is that why you got a VW e-Golf after the Model S? AC: My Smart was getting old and tired. I was always wanting an EV, but I preferred a smaller car compared to the Model S. I was comparing all of the small EVs available in HK at the moment, and came close to getting a Renault Zoe, but by chance I found a near new e-Golf for a good price so choose that. The ride and comfort of the e-Golf is great. But of course it does not the range of a Model S. LL: How do you normally charge your EVs? AC: Our cars are parked outside always, so we installed a charging point next to our parking spaces by running a 120 metre cable from our house to our car park, so we can charge at home when needed. The e-Golf can fully charge under 10-12 hours on just a 13A socket. LL: Nice. Here comes the more critical questions. First one is for our Hong Kong readers: Should the government extend EV FRT waiver? AC: The FRT tax waiver that EVs utilise at the moment is a very small percentage of the government revenues, and if the government is committed to reducing roadside pollution and improving air quality, then we need to make the transition to an all electric transport fleet. Here is a pollution map of the world. LL: But some say EV FRT waiver is subsidizing EV buyers with tax payer's money, what do you think? Lydia: The FRT waiver is not subsidizing anybody, everyone has the freedom to choose to support a good cause, and it is their choice not to support the good cause hence they have to pay the price via a tax, this is the way I see it. By buying an ICE vehicle, the roadside pollution it causes is not nearly justified by the FRT they have paid. The damage is already done and they still won't face the reality which is indeed really sad.

Xmas 2015, Zermatt in Switzerland
Photo by Lydia Lee

LL: Second one is for our international readers: How do you think Trump’s policies will affect the climate change?

Lydia: Skiing is my passion and seeing how the global warming affecting the glaciers is painful. I have skied for more than 30 years everywhere you can think of. The ski season is getting later each year. Take Europe as an example, the ski season would begin in early December. Nowadays it's hardly much snow in December on Alps. See this photo? Xmas 2015, Zermatt in Switzerland, no snow at all. Fortunately lots of ski resorts rely on snow making machine.

LL: Well, I prefer snow by mother nature. I have never ever seen snow before. And I really wonder if my kids ever will, this is very sad. I wish that everyone can watch documentaries like Racing Extinction and DiCaprio's Before The Flood and simply learn the truth. But we have some good news today, Elon being named to Trump's advisory role. What do you think, Andrew?

AC: “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” - Sun Tzu, The Art of War. Elon will have the president-elect’s ear now, so the groups (big oil) that have been attacking Elon/Tesla and EVs in general will have to think twice about doing this again from now on. I don’t see the new president wanting to curtail what Tesla is doing, they build stuff and employ lots of people in the US, and this is exactly the kind of business the new president wants (made in America).

LL: I really hope what you said is right. Fingers crossed! Last but not least, since we are talking about Elon. He mentioned that Hong Kong is the ‘beacon city’ for EVs, so surely he pays a lot of attention to the EV development of the city. When John Kang from Forbes asked me for another person he could interview the first day Tesla accepted walk-in reservation for Model 3, I immediately thought of Lydia because she was sending to our LINE group chat all these photos she took, showing long queues of people waiting outside various Tesla shops in Hong Kong. And soon enough, she was on that Forbes article. Actually you too Andrew but you were known as the ‘husband’. Now, allow me to quote the article a bit, “For some, like Lydia Lee, the fact that it doesn’t pollute the air is enough to buy the EV. “It’s not about the price tag,” said the civil engineer designing roads and drives a Model S. “I can’t wait to see the end of the fossil fuel era.” Lee spent her Thursday morning lining up at a Tesla store to reserve her Model 3, together with more than 100 people combined in all three Tesla stores in the city. “My husband asked me: ‘Why on earth would you go there to line up and pay a $1,000 deposit for a car without knowing what it even looks like?’ and I said it doesn’t matter what it looks like,” said Lee. “The price you pay for it is not for a car, but for your future and the next generation.” “But I’m so glad it looks so stylish.”” Coming to think of it now that you know what it looks like, what are your opinions of Model 3 and when do you expect to see your Model 3 in Hong Kong? The ‘husband’ first maybe?
Lydia and Andrew in a Forbes article
Image from Forbes
AC: Actually this is not true, the article quoted things out of context. I am all for supporting the use of clean technology, especially EVs, we have ordered 2 Tesla Model 3s. So if Lydia wasn’t lining up, it would have been me. I really hope that Tesla stays on schedule and we get to see the Model 3 in HK before the end of 2018. The Model 3 introduces new battery technology which will find its way into more EVs and home energy storage. Lydia: I am really excited and looking forward to see the Model 3 go into production as it will be Elon's goal to create an EV for the masses.  By doing so, more people can actually experienced the joy of driving a EV and how wonderful it is not to have ever buy gas again.  I really don't mind the wait as long as the result is achieved.  The result hopefully would be the extinction of ICE. LL: So, you will have 4 EVs by then? AC: We plan to sell our current EVs to make space available for the Model 3s, when they arrive. LL: I see. Well, that’s awesome! Thank you so much for your stories and time, it’s very nice chatting with both of you! AC: Thank you again Locky. Lydia: Bye bye! References:
Experience Golf in 4 versions. @Volkswagen Hong Kong
AirVisual - Earth
Racing Extinction Before the Flood - The science is clear, the future is not Donald Trump Adds Elon Musk, Travis Kalanick, and Indra Nooyi to His Team of Advisers
Model 3 Will Boost Tesla Cars To Be Mainstream In 'Beacon City For Electric Vehicles' @ Forbes

Tuesday 1 November 2016

Auto & Environment: EV Numbers and Growth In Hong Kong As Of Aug 2016

Progress of EV in Hong Kong
Image from Locky's English Playground
The third quarter of EV progress in Hong Kong continues to show encouraging numbers after a drop in EV sales in April and May, which coincides with the post-announcement-pre-delivery of new Tesla Model S facelift version.

Progress of EV in Hong Kong till Aug 2016
Image from Locky's English Playground
Delivery has picked up once again in June at 204 when new Tesla Model S Facelift has begun delivery in Hong Kong and stayed strong in July at 297 and in August at 290 EVs. Although these numbers are not near the the highest of 511 in March 2016 and 504 in December 2015, these numbers are still higher than any of the months from January to September in 2015.

Percentage of EVs in all registered vehicles including EVs and all fossil fuel vehicles is 0.75%, which means for every 10000 cars, there will be 75 EVs, still a very small percentage.

Willingness to purchase EVs is good, as June, July and August 2016 shows roughly 1 in every 5 new cars is an EV.

Another interesting observation is that the total willingness to buy a vehicle has dropped from around 3000 new cars per month in Feb 2015 to around 2700 in December 2015 to around 1400 in July 2016. This downtrend seems to correlate to the uptake of EVs per new car bought.

Looking ahead at the provisional number of EVs in September 2016 in which another 531 (= 666 - 135 usual overestimates) EVs have possibly been sold, we are likely to be seeing another record-breaking EV delivery month!

Progress of EV in Hong Kong with numbers from Transport Department
Image from Locky's English Playground

Total monthly registered increase in EV since Tesla Model S Launch has a mean of 208.9 and a standard deviation of 131.527.

The "curve" of growth remains pretty much a straight, inclined line since Tesla Model S Launch in Hong Kong in July 2014. As an EV-lover, the more upward curve the merrier.

Analysis of Tesla Model S in Hong Kong
Image from Locky's English Playground

My analysis has been slightly updated with clearer headings and numbering. Optimistic calculation remains on the left and pessimistic on the right. 2015 is still the core of my estimate for Tesla's sales performance in 2014 and 2016, with the assumption that Tesla is doing just as well in 2015 as it is in 2016.

Till Aug 2016, if Model S sales performance is consistent with that in the entire 2015, then optimistically there should be 4588 Tesla Model S and 4136 pessimistically. Taking the average of the two we get 4362, which is equivalent to 72.3% of the EV population in Hong Kong in the same month (= 4362 / 6031 x 100%).

Street-wise, I have personally run into Renault Zoe owned by Hong Kong Electric and more Volkswagen E-golf owned by CLP Power, as well as at least 3 Tesla Model S almost at any moments on the roads, the future is looking bright!

Here's a video interview of Charged Hong Kong chairman Mark Webb-Johnson with Renault Hong Kong's brand manager at FIA Formula E Hong Kong event.

Loss of tangible cost-Total economic loss: Hedley Environmental Index by HKU
Image captured and line drawn by Locky's English Playground

Last but not least, again, this may be coincidental with the stricter pollution control and refinement of fuel mix by the power companies, but the Hedley Environmental Index charts (an indicator for air pollution level impacting the Hong Kong economy managed by the Environmental Health Research Team of School of Public Health at The University of Hong Kong ) for Total Economic Loss (= Loss of tangible cost + loss of healthy life value), have finally shown a general trend of decline since January 2014, which coincides with the time when EVs in Hong Kong began to pick up sales.

Loss of healthy life value-Total economic loss: Hedley Environmental Index by HKU
Image captured and line drawn by Locky's English Playground
What these means is the air has dramatically improved during this period and the entire Hong Kong population has been living a healthier life for the last 2 years.

Hedley Environmental Index by HKU
Image captured by Locky's English Playground
Could any part of this contributed by the growth of EVs?

Hedley Environmental Index on 1st November 2016
Image from HKU
As of today, just one day, 1st November 2016, the total economic loss is near HK$72M. My calculated average shows about 200 EVs are sold in Hong Kong per month, meaning less than 0.667 EVs per day. The EV First Registration Tax waives, based on a personal 'guesstimate' for simplicity sake, an average of HK$0.72M per EV, that is 1% of the total economic loss due to air pollution PER DAY, and today is considered as quite a good day with low level of air pollution, as demonstrated by the photo below, taken today in North Point.

Still see a little blue sky above
Image from Locky's English Playground 

Thank you Prof. Hedley!


First look at the Tesla Model S with new front-end [Updated]

Tesla Offer HK Facebook

Hedley Environmental Index

Anthony Hedley was a true hero of community health @SCMP

Wednesday 21 September 2016

Games: Pokémon GO v. 0.37 bans rooted/jailbroken phones, and not

Google Maps: Pokémon Challenge
Photo: Google/YouTube

Is game-hacking all bad? Smartphone rooters/jailbreakers = game hackers?
Pokémon fanboy X suffers from a physical disability and is unable to walk. Travelling back and forth home and hospitals is almost the furthest it gets. Doesn’t dream of exploring the world, just dream of exploring Hong Kong. Prior to the launch of Pokémon GO, Google Map was his eyes and feet. Google’s 2014 April Fool video titled Google Maps: Pokémon Challenge and game gave him a day of fun and hope to live.

Then Pikachu came knocking on his mobile phone screen from the Augmented-Reality world, hope rekindled, but the GPS-based game was as much a sarcasm as it is a tease, “New stories have surfaced virtually daily about Trainers getting out into the real world, becoming more healthy, meeting neighbors, and helping kids. We’ve also heard from people using the game to cope with social anxiety, depression and autism, and even using it to improve their relationships. We have heard from tens of thousands of you directly, including amazing examples such as Kelly, who emailed us to tell her story about getting out finding a new sense of purpose. ” – Niantic Blog, 13 Sep 2016. 

Buddy System, v0.37
Photo: Android Police

Thanks to the game hackers, a Pokémon GO hack allows him to play the game and explore the Pokémon world even on his hospital bed using his rooted/jailbroken mobile phone, until the latest version 0.37 update in which Niantic decides to add Buddy System AND rooted/jailbroken phone ban, taking away the game entirely away from people with disability like X.

Be not afraid, because whenever there is a game community there is a hack. Using Magisk!, game hackers have once again become the heroes of X and now he can continue to enjoy ‘getting out’ into the ‘real world’, becoming more healthy, meeting ‘neighbours’, and helping kids like him.

  So, what is the point of making game hacks more difficult?

First, it is simply wrong to consider all smartphone rooters and jailbreakers as game hackers. Rooting/jailbreaking is about gaining more control of their own phones such as customization and even security. Banning all rooted/jailbroken smartphones from the game is like saying everyone with a screwdriver will rob a bank and crack open the vaults. Second, there is always going to be a game hack whatever a game company decides to do, so why bother? Third, hacks and cheats actually prolong the lifespan of a game. How do I know? Reverse-thinking: what happens when smartphone rooters/jailbreakers do not bother going through the trouble of hacking the game anymore? Because to them, which is more important, their right to fully control their phones or just another phone game?

Lastly, does Niantic even care about players like X?

Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall! +Niantic

Pokémon GO updated to 0.37, adds Buddy Pokémon and Pokémon GO Plus support, blocks rooted devices +Android Police 

Wednesday 14 September 2016

Environment: Super Typhoon Meranti. Always Love a Big Eye

Satellite image of Super Typhoon Meranti
Image: Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau.
 Always love a clear, big eye of a typhoon. It's a beautiful product of Mother Nature, reminding us that she is watching every bit of damage humans are doing to the environment and climate.

Super Typhoon Meranti's track and forecast
Image: Hong Kong Observatory, 8:33am, 14 September 2016

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Charged Hong Kong Members' Stories #010 -- Mr. Richard Hatter

Mr. Richard Hatter
Image from Hotel ICON

Locky Law (LL): We are very pleased to have invited a true pioneer of EV adaptation in Hong Kong for interview today. He is Mr. Richard Hatter, General Manager of Hotel ICON Hong Kong (hereafter, ICON) and Adjunct Associate Professor at the School of Hotel & Tourism Management of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Welcome Richard.

Richard Hatter (RH): Thank you, Locky.

LL: Richard, we know that you have recently done a customer story for Tesla, which is great because you have told a lot about yourself in that story, but today I want to go a little deeper than that. I know that you have really pushed hard in EV adaptation in the hotel industry. Your vision and approach leading ICON towards eco-friendliness, as we can see today, has proven you right. Could you please tell us when this has begun and your motivation?

RH: ICON is an exceptional hotel with a special purpose: not only do we embody all the creative energy and spirit of Hong Kong, we are also a learning environment and a vision of hospitality for the future, through our partnership with The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the esteemed School and Hotel of Tourism Management (SHTM). Sustainability and innovation underpins everything we do here and EV adoption is the perfect demonstration of this philosophy in action.

LL: As a student of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, I am trying to find opportunities that can bring Charged Hong Kong and the University together. I had a chance to have a lunch meeting with the PolyU president Prof. Timothy W. Tong yesterday, during which we talked about the many collaborations between Charged Hong Kong and ICON (such as Charged Hong Kong Rally 2015 and the latest Belilios Public School EV Summer Program), possible future collaborations with the University in promoting a green environment, ICON's and your contribution to the environment, the industry and the EV community. Because of your vision, ICON has earned many "Number 1s" or come "first" in Hong Kong, could you please tell us what those are?

RH: We have plenty of firsts to share: We were the first hotel in Hong Kong to introduce Paperless Check-in reception, saving four tons of paper every year. We introduced the Handy Phone, we offer completely free superfast Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, a TIMELESS lounge for jetlagged passengers or those arriving early, a free Shuttle BOAT during conferences in HK, a free minibar and much more. Much of this is to extend the spirit of generosity and hospitality to our customers and also to reinforce that there is a place in the market for a very unique new luxury hotel that has one foot firmly placed in the future. We also recognize that by creating value-added aesthetics in terms of room or interior design, comfort and in-room technology, that guests would welcome the ‘live laboratory’ aspect of our operation and that it shouldn’t be hidden as it’s in our DNA.

Hotel ICON's very own EV fleet
Image from Hotel ICON
LL: Awesome! And needless to say, you are a strong believer of electric vehicles. So how many EVs does ICON have at the moment?

RH: We currently have two EV shuttle buses, one BMW i3 and 2 Tesla Model S.

LL: Brilliant! I'm particularly interested in the reasons you have decided that ICON should purchase a Tesla Model S after a BMW i3. Because the i3 is really a pretty good EV.

RH: The BMW i3 is used as a run around town shuttle for guests whereas the Model S will be used as a Limo to add value to the Club Floor customer stay. All markets need continual innovation otherwise things stand still and customers get bored! We are constantly looking for ways to improve our service, add value and experiment with innovative approaches to marketing the rooms side of the business and operation generally.

LL: And I know that owners of EV can also benefit when they visit ICON. If I'm not wrong, there is a very unique offer for EV owners dining at ICON, since 2014?

RH: Yes, we have implemented 2 Tesla 3 phase High Power Wall Connectors in the car park, while Tesla owners are entitled to 45 minutes free charging service at Hotel ICON and can also benefit from 15% off when dining at any of Hotel ICON’s restaurants by showing their car keys. It is a valet parking-plus-free charging-plus-discount offer.

LL: Which leads us to one of the most dying questions: in what ways have EVs actually benefited ICON in terms of business?

RH: For a mini bus that runs 150km daily, it saves 40L of fuel every day. While an electric bus uses $1 per kWh. The cost saved is approx. HK$415 per day.

Richard and Hotel ICON's EV fleet
Image from Hotel ICON

LL: But I know your effort in pushing for EV adaptation is much more than just the cost effective factor, am I right?

RH: Absolutely. Electric cars themselves produce zero emissions and the environmental costs are lower than conventional automobiles. Therefore, it helps contribute towards a healthy and stable environment for our next generation.

LL: Just tapping into your vision of the future a bit more, what do you see as the trend in the role of EV in the hotel industry in the future?

RH: We foresee that more and more hotels will follow our lead and use EV as limousines. Also the Government has been promoting the use of EVs through different measures such as waiving the first registration tax for EVs, expanding the EV charging infrastructure in Hong Kong and more.

LL: Last but not least, what advice would you offer to our future EV owners, including hotels that want to follow your path of EV adaptation?

RH: My advice would be to consider the options carefully and do in-depth research before purchasing. But fundamentally adopting EVs represents a hugely-important and worthwhile step, both for your business and brand.

LL: Thank you very much Richard for sharing your valuable experience and insights with all of us today, it has been my great pleasure to have talked to you.

RH: Thank you and see you at Hotel ICON!

Win-win situation

Lunch meeting with PolyU President

Charged Rally 2015 at Hotel ICON

Belilios Public School EV Summer Program (Official Video)

Monday 15 August 2016

Travelling & Living: Hotel ICON’s Staycation at Club 36 Harbour on 5/21/2016

From my Room 2616 +Hotel ICON
Image from Locky's English Playground

Valet-Parking (arrival time 12pm)

Tesla High Power Wall Connector for patrons
Image from Locky's English Playground
Valet staff were quick to open car door for passengers at the back, ask which luggage should be delivered to the hotel room, offer Tesla stamp on parking card and initiate free charging for my car. Probably the first hotel to offer both valet EV-charging and valet-parking in Asia. The staff also asked me technical questions about my Tesla Model S and I enjoyed sharing my knowledge with him.


Front desk check-in

Check-in counter
Image from Locky's English Playground

The queue was long but staff were quick to clear the line. When I was at the front desk, the staff told me that I have booked an executive room so I should go to 28/F for an executive check-in. The front desk lady then took our luggage to the counter, placed labels on it, and then escorted us into the lift to 28/F. On the way up to 28/F, the staff introduced us the name of the restaurants and where breakfast will be served, pool deck, gym and spa, and wished us a happy stay. She had maximized the time inside the lift to provide the most information for us.

28/F check-in

Checking-in on 28/F
Image from Locky's English Playground

The staff at the counter welcomed us with warm lovely smiles and asked us if we would like orange juice or water, which we kindly declined. She kept baby Muse engaged and happy throughout the process and that is the best service parents can ask for: if the children are happy, the parents will be. After signing a couple of forms of which the details were read out to us, she told us that the room would be ready by 2pm and that we could have our lunch first. She asked me if I would like a call from the hotel if the room was ready before 2pm. I left my phone number and took the family down to G/F.

Room 2616

free-to-use speaker system + 3G phone with portable charger
Image from Locky's English Playground
The room is full of surprises. Love a 100% smoke residual-free room. Love the paper label saying “I have been sanitized”, it gives patrons confidence that sanitation has been performed with care. 

Alcatel Handy phone inside a stand with descriptions on the side is lovely. Great survey at the beginning to gather patron’s data. The software has been very well-designed and provides very useful information for tourists. 3G and IDD calls are perfect. 

A complete set of stationary
Image from Locky's English Playground
Love the stationary and laptop cables which can be really useful for some, Mediajack station too, but the USB could not charge the GP PowerBank. The laminated instruction + price list provides extremely useful. GP PowerBank is fully charged which I did use and it was good enough for one charge. Wireless speaker looks great but we did not try.

free-to-use printer
Image from Locky's English Playground
The presence of a printer really gives patrons staying for business or conference much relief. Having a DVD player in the room is a plus too.

“you are not seeing double mini bar is free"
Image from Locky's English Playground
“You are not seeing double mini bar is free” is a lovely piece of visual wordplay glass that says a lot about the creative character of ICON, although I still had to call the service to confirm the definition of “mini-bar”, and discovered that “mini-bar” includes the items in the fridge was a huge surprise.  
Image from Locky's English Playground
Still free!
Image from Locky's English Playground
All free!
Image from Locky's English Playground
My name on TV screen, personalised for every guest
Image from Locky's English Playground

The personalized first page on the TV screen with patron’s surname gives a lot of prestige. The interface is also simple to use. Unfortunately, local TV channels are very limited, if staycation is the direction ICON intends to explore, local TV channels should be at the top of the To-do list in order to make the TV-binging Hong Kongers want to stay in their room.

Mouth-rinse included
Image from Locky's English Playground

Bathroom amenities such as Colgate mouth-rinse and bath salt gave us good surprises, as they are usually not provided in hotel rooms. Very caring.

Circular mirror lighting uses LED light strips, which matches the overall eco-friendly theme of the hotel and resonates with the ceiling light inside the lift.

Image from Locky's English Playground

Tips: the location of the hair dryer is hiding inside the drawer inside the wardrobe.

9/F Changing Room, Pool & Lounge

Terrific service at the pool! Thanks Ray!
Image from Locky's English Playground

Service at the pool was terrific. Staff offered lots of help, tonnes of smiles. There is a pump available and we got assistance for pumping up the float. We received complimentary Japanese mineral water in bottles and thick towels. Another boy received a pair of goggles handed to him by another staff. My little girl had great fun that day!

Tips: Health Club the gym and Timeless the lounge are on the same floor as the pool. So's the Playstation. 

Swimsuit water extractor
Image from Locky's English Playground

I saw a swimsuit water extractor for the first time. It is easy and safe to operate. Clear instructions are given on the use of sauna and showers.

Sauna, anyone?
Image from Locky's English Playground

Dining: Dinner at The Market

Dinner at The Market with Adrian and Yvonne
Image from Locky's English Playground

Having successfully persuaded a Tesla Singapore group friend Adrian Peh and his wife Yvonne to stay at ICON, I recommended that they try the best buffet in Hong Kong as awarded by Openrice, 5 times!

There is no doubt about the variety and presentation of food and speed of replenishment. Quality and taste-wise, the food is top-notch. Adrian and his wife loved the durian desserts very very much and they will probably return to ICON just for the durian desserts (and probably for the Tesla limousine too).

Hotel ICON, no wonder they rank 4th in Tripadvisor's Top 25 Hotels in China! They truly deserve it, and more!

Image from Locky's English Playground
Image from Locky's English Playground
Image from Locky's English Playground
Image from Locky's English Playground
Image from Locky's English Playground
Image from Locky's English Playground
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Image from Locky's English Playground
Image from Locky's English Playground
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Congratulations! The Market has been voted as the Best ‪#‎Buffet‬ of Hong Kong diners for the fifth time at OpenRice Best Restaurant Awards

Top 25 Hotels in China - TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards

Sunday 10 July 2016

Charged Hong Kong Members' Stories #009 -- Mr. Raymond Wu

Charged Hong Kong associate member Mr. Raymond Wu is ranked among the world’s top referrers in every round of Tesla Referral Program. He was rewarded with an invitation to the Tesla Model 3 Unveil Event on March 31, 2016 in Hawthorne, California, as well as tickets to the Gigafactory Grand Opening Party, and more!

 Here's our interview below:

Locky Law (LL): Hello viewers! I am super excited to have Raymond here with us today to talk about how he becomes Asia’s Number 1 and one of the world’s best Tesla referrer, who will share his experience riding on the Tesla Model X and the latest Tesla Model 3! Welcome Raymond!

 Raymond Wu (RW): Hello Locky, thanks for inviting me to be part of this interview! I hope you guys would enjoy my sharing! LL: First Raymond, you are very well-known in Hong Kong, probably in the entire Asia too, but for the sake of our world’s audience, please tell us about a little about yourself and your car?

RW: Sure. I live in Hong Kong and I am running a startup business, specializing in coconut oil. Any Tesla owners, ping me and I will give you a special discount. Currently, I own a multi-coat red 85 and it's been a year since I owned it. The first time I learned about Tesla was a California visit during Oct 2014. My friend, who invested in Tesla stock, earned herself a Tesla. That's my first Tesla ride. I was strongly attracted by this car, and eventually paid the deposit on January 2015...Actually I already played with the design studio since November 2014, haha. I love driving this car and I almost drive it everyday.

LL: You know what, I envy all those friends who can drive their EVs every day. I just don’t have the chance. Okay, back to your story of success. As far as I remember, there are 3 rounds of Tesla Referral Program. The first round is a little more complicated because it came in 2 phases: phase 1 has a limit to just 10 referrals, current owner --the referrer, gets HK$10,000 of referral credits and referree gets HK$10,000 off the purchase price of their new Tesla Model S. Then, as quoted from Tesla’s website, “The first person to refer ten friends in each sales region— North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific — will receive a free Model X.” Deadline was till October 31st, 2015. You started slow in this one, am I right? Then you simply went unstoppable! What happened then? Did you win the free Model X?

RW: I didn't participate at all during phase 1. I remembered someone suddenly got 10 referrals in a single day and won the game. I believed that he's from mainland China. However, anyone who referred more than 10 people have the right to buy a fully loaded model X at base price (base price of P90D). I know at least 4 people in Hong Kong achieved this goal.

LL: Ah! What a pity. Then came first round phase 2, which Tesla removed the 10 referral limit, threw in a Tesla Powerwall for every 5 referrals, and I quote again, “the customer who makes the most referrals by the end of October will be invited to swap their current Model S for a fully loaded Ludicrous P90D Model S, for free.” This one was a tough battle between you and Mr. Frank Lee! Everyone in Hong Kong was keeping an eye on that APAC scoreboard on Tesla app till the final day! In the end, you won! Please tell us more and what was the final result again?

RW: This was the time I started to get into the game. At first I just wished to have 5 referrals so I can get the invitation to the gigafactory opening. I started by introducing the car to my friends. Eventually, I started to think, why not sharing this amazing car to all the people on the internet? So I opened a Facebook page, launched a website, and helped people to understand this car and also leave my cell phone number online so that people can text me or call me anytime to ask questions regarding the car. I never imagined that I could move to the first rank! I almost lose to Frank, but on the last day a lot of people which I talked to all rushed in to buy the car! At last I referred more than 80 people. All credits go to Tesla. Most of these people were already interested in the car and I just helped them to understand more of it, listing the pros and cons to them, and provided test rides.

Meet up with top two Tesla referrers of Asia Pacific, Raymond Wu (right) and Frank Lee (left)
Image from Locky's English Playground

LL: And together, you and Frank managed to 164 referrals, that’s 984 tonnes of CO2 saved a year! And above all, you can swap your car for a fully-loaded P90D-L, which is fantastic! When will you get the new car?

RW: Currently I am still happily driving my 85. When you see me driving a P90DL, that's when I get a new car!

LL: I’m sure you can’t resist posting photos of it to your website though. Ok. Let’s talk about round 2. On top of the HK$10,000 referral credits for current owner referrer and HK$10,000 discount for referrees, Tesla added the following: 1) The top referrer in each sales region receive a fully loaded P90DL Model S for free, plus the invitation to model 3 unveiling event, travel expense included 2) 5 leads also gets your grand opening invitation for Tesla’s Gigafactory in April, 3) 10 leads gets you to invitation for model 3 unveiling event. Tell us how you did for this round?

RW: Frank told me he was not interested in round 2, so I thought I was going to win the second round. I actually just continued what I did in first round, helping people to know about the car. However, this time China was doing very strong. The top referrer is from China and he referred 209 while I referred 114. Although I was ranked no 2 in the world, I lose in the region. Despite of that, I still had the chance to attend the model 3 unveiling event! And I was also glad that China market seems to be picking up.

LL: Oh yes, we all want Tesla to do well in China and when they do, China will push renewable energy even harder. Now round 3 ended on April 15th, 2016, this round, there is no referral credits for referrer and has a limit of maximum 3 referrals per current owner, but referrees get HK$8,800 for home charging installation. “One lucky referrer will win a Ludicrous P90D Model X as well as a tour for two of the SpaceX headquarters in Los Angeles, including travel and accommodations.” And “five referrers will win a tour for two of the SpaceX headquarters in Los Angeles, including travel and accommodations.” This time, there was also no scoreboard for us to keep an eye on. And because of your amazing marketing skill, you decided to help other owners, including me, to get 3 referrals! I’m really curious, why you decided to help others?

RW: I just think that it doesn't hurt to help other people to have a chance to win. Even after the first and second referral program, I still continued to help people to understand this amazing car. Why not help them to save 8,800 while helping my friends to get a chance to win the lucky draw?

LL: Let’s move to the Tesla Model 3 Unveil Event in Hawthorne. You earned those free tickets. Tell me, what was the atmosphere like there?

RW: The atmosphere was so good, everyone was so energetic and seems very excited about the unveiling of the new car! There were a lot of Tesla fanboys there! I can tell that because they all wore Tesla t shirts and Tesla jackets. There was also a Model X on display where everyone got so excited and tried to experience the car. However they didn't allow us to play with the falcon wing door. There was also an area where there were some Macs available for people to preorder their Model 3. A lot of people were busy filling up their information there.

LL: You saw the car with your own eyes, how does it look different from what we see from the photos?

RW: I think the car looks gorgeous. Comparing to the photo, I think the real car created more “wow" effect. You just can't feel the curve simply by looking at the pictures.

LL: Some people talk about the trunk opening. What do you think about that? Is it really a problem? Can you suggest a way to improve on that?

RW: I don't think it's a big problem. It's just like a normal trunk. Maybe people are so used to the huge trunk of Model S and so used to hatchback. Yes, the trunk size is not ideal, but Elon said the production model will have a bigger trunk and a larger opening, so I don't think it's a factor that we need to worry about. Remember it's a smaller car, so we can't really expect it to have a big trunk. Not to forget, we also have a frunk!

LL: How big is the frunk in this prototype as compared to a the new Model S dual motor with HEPA?
RW: It's bigger. I think it can fit two small hand carry luggage. The model S frunk is getting smaller and smaller, that's a thing that I don't like about.

LL: You then queued up for the test ride of Model 3, how does it feel? What’s the difference from being in a Model S?

RW: The queue was super long. I was number 642 in the queue, and I wasn't able to ride on the Model 3 until 00:20! But while waiting for the test ride, there were two Model X and one Model S available for test ride as well. So I rode on a X twice and on a S once. Ludicrous mode is scary but awesome. Let's get back to Model 3. The test ride itself was great. I still think it look weird without the instrument panel, but i think it takes time to get used to it. I still believe that something similar to HUD would be introduced to Model 3. The overhead glass roof still amazed me even after riding on the model X. Plenty of legroom in the front, and the rear is also spacious, considering it's a smaller car. You don't know how much I want that overhead windshield to be introduced into Model S. In the end, this is just a prototype, I can't wait to see part 2 of the unveiling!!

LL: Let’s talk more about Model X because that will come to Hong Kong first. It’s got a huge overhead panoramic sunroof, Falcon wing doors 3 rows of seats, new auto-door present mechanism. What do you like about it?

RW: The overhead roof is the best thing I like about. The view is fantastic, everyone will love it. The falcon wing door is a hit or miss. Either you will like it or you will hate it. Personally I think it's very cool but I would question about it's reliability. Also it might not be practical in Hong Kong. About the 3rd row seat, at first I think it's not acceptable, because there were not enough leg room (I am 1.75m). But on the other day I got another chance to experience a 7-seater again. This time I found that actually I can make myself enough legroom by moving the second seat forward and straighten up the second seat a bit. Overall I think it's acceptable and comfortable, of course 6 seater would be nicer. The middle seat of second row, however, do not provide enough headroom because of the pillar. Finally let's talk about the auto present. I think it's a cool idea. You approach the car, it will open the door...I couldn't experience it because I didn't have the key fob with me. When you step on the brake, the door will close. So you don't actually need to touch the door at all. Again, don't know if it's practical in Hong Kong. I always think about what if I park at a meter space and just want to refill the meter? Would it open the door for me when I approach the meter just like the door handle of model S will pop out? How much do the door open? Would it slam into the door of the vehicle park beside you? A lot of question raised up in my mind.

LL: Will you feel worried if you were driving the X getting into Hong Kong car parks, say Festival Walk car park for Superchargers?

RW: I am getting more worry. I have already seen people sharing that their falcon wing door hit the beam in the parking lot. The ceiling height of Festival Walk is okay, as you can set to only open halfway. However, I do think that Tesla need to do more before they introduce Model X into Hong Kong, such as adding more sensors.

LL: Oh, I mean the width of the car as compared to the curbed entrance at Festival Walk car park. Because when I drove my Model S there, I think my back wheels went over the curb. The entrance is tight for Model S. Do you think Model X can avoid curb rash there?

RW: I think yes, curb rash can be avoided, you just need to be more careful, and might require some skill. Some car park might be trickier, like the one in Cyberport.

LL: Oh, I definitely need to work on my skills then. How about the Powerwall? I think you will be receiving a few in the future? How big is it and where do you think we can install it? Given that our homes in Hong Kong are mostly quite small.

RW: I don't think Powerwall is useful in Hong Kong. It's huge, much bigger than I thought. It's useful if we have different electricity cost during different time, but we don't have that system in Hong Kong. It might also be useful if you live in houses and can install your own solar panel. I don't think much people in Hong Kong will find Powerwall useful.

LL: Last but not least, as Tesla’s worldclass referrer, what do you think Tesla should do to ensure success in Hong Kong, and other APAC regions like Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore?

RW: They have a huge risk in Hong Kong. Tesla rely heavily on word-of-mouth for its rapid growth, but I think Hong Kong has the worst service satisfaction. We often heard from owners that their car were just sitting in the service centre for a few days for some service that normally just require just a few hours. No loaner car provided. Delivery experiences were not good comparing to the Tesla delivering experience in other countries as well. I think Tesla need to work hard on this part to ensure future success in Hong Kong. As of other regions, I believe Tesla is already planning to enter Taiwan and South Korea. i think government support is the most important key for gaining early success.

LL: Thank you very much Raymond for spending so much time with us today! RW: Thank you again for inviting me to this interview!