Thursday 30 June 2016

Charged Hong Kong Members' Stories #000 -- Mr. Johnny Siu

Johnny Siu
As Charged Hong Kong's Tesla owner group representative, I want to dedicate Charged Hong Kong's 1-year-old birthday to all our members who have contributed to the EV communities and the EV growth in Hong Kong in various ways. Charged Hong Kong Members' Stories is a series which aims to introduce our members and share their valuable experience with the world!

To kick off the series, I am glad to have Mr. Johnny Siu to be #000. He is #000 because he has recently joined the Charged Hong Kong committee and he deserves a number before number 1.

Here's our interview below:

Locky Law(LL): Johnny, thanks for accepting my interview. Some standard questions first: Could you please tell us something about yourself?

Johnny Siu(JS): I am Chartered Surveyor working in the civil services and will retire within a few years.  My entire family (4 members) joined the test drive of Tesla Model S and were all impressed by its performance.  Hence, place my order for 70D in April 2015.

LL: Tell us about your role at Charged Hong Kong.

JS: I am a founder member of Charged HK and also the coordinator of Public Charging Group.

LL: Thanks to you, Charged Hong Kong now has a lot more contact with the Government. Has it been difficult to arrange meetings with government departments, LegCo members and public utility companies?

JS: I have not encountered any difficulties in meeting these parties.  My experience with them, so far, is positive.  Although there have not been any significant improvements in public charging, I believe we are moving in the right direction.

LL: Do you have anyone in mind that Charged Hong Kong will meet in the next 6 months?

JS: I do really want to meet the property managers who are currently dealing with the Incorporated Owners.  EV owners are often facing difficulties in the installation of home charging facilities at their own parking spaces.

LL: Okay, this is a tricky question: what’s the odds of a FRT waiver extension?

JS: Similar to most of the countries in the world, FRT wavier / tax rebates are necessary to promote EV.  However, with the coming of low cost EV, FRT wavier may imply an overall increase in car population unless ICE are replaced by those low cost EV.

LL: Okay, let’s talk about you and your Tesla Model S again. How often to you drive it these days?

JS: I drive my Tesla daily and my mileage is only about 60Km per day.  I am the driver of my boss –wife.  Sometimes, my sons will drive my 70D as well (under my supervision).

LL: And I remember you have had your car coated, do you mind sharing your experience with that particular coating? You can name it if you want.

JS: I did the coating at Crystal Plating Kobo Limited.  It costed me $5,500 and is very nice.  This is the budget which I can afford.

LL: Where do you normally charge your car? How often? Any troubles with charging?

JS: I charged my Tesla daily at nearby Tin Hau Government multi-storey car park.  A 13A outlet will be good for me for overnight charging.  At this moment, I do not have any trouble in getting a 13A charging lot

LL: Is there anything else you would like to tell our members and future EV owners?

JS: EV is good in every aspects and also more environmental friendly.  However, before you make your purchase decision, do think about your driving habit and where will be the possible charging facilities for your EV.

LL: Thank you very much my friend! And congratulations for joining the Charged Hong Kong committee. We’ll see you at Charged Hong Kong meetings very soon!

JS: You are the most welcome.  Hopefully, I can contribute to the Public Charging Group.

Message: Posting a series of old(er) stuff

Mr. Joe Nguyen and his Tesla cap
Photo by Linda Nguyen
Since March 2016, I have been doing so much about electric vehicles, so much that I have pretty much not written about other topics. I do have some other topics lined up and will be writing more in the near future as Summer breaks arrives. More linguistic stuff.

But until then, let's not waste the stuff I have already done. They are all done in English, and they are all very good lessons for everyone -- they are the interviews I have done with EV owners from Hong Kong and Singapore.

Hope you'll like them!

Tuesday 21 June 2016

Auto & Environment: EV Numbers and Growth in Hong Kong as of April 2015

EV Growth in Hong Kong
Image from Locky's English Playground
First, thanks to all media for using my Tesla Model S estimate in Hong Kong. After 3 months of waiting, it is time for me to offer you another EV growth update in Hong Kong.

Key points:

  • March is a critical month
  • Total number of EVs is now over 5000
  • March 2016 saw another record-breaking EV number of 513
  • 1 in every 4 new cars added in March 2016 is an EV
  • EV now constitute to 0.63% of total number of registered vehicles

As expected, January and February 2016 were the quiet(er) months for the EV market in Hong Kong. 270 in January 2016 and 164 in February are low when compared to the excellent Q4 2015, but March 2016 saw a strong pickup once more, hitting a record high of 513. March 2016 has also yielded a stunning 24.99% of EV purchase per new car, that gives 1 EV in every 4 new cars added. EV now constitute to 0.63% of total number of registered vehicles.

Personally, I hope it will continue to do this well before EV FRT waiver ends/extends in March 2017, because with increasing EV appearances on the roads, I am already witnessing an improvement of roadside air quality. (It is hard not to notice when there are EVs on the road ever minute or so.)

With previously 70% market penetration and ever-increasing road sighting as well as Supercharger waiting time, Tesla is expected to do well in the first quarter.

Tesla Model S estimate
Image from Locky's English Playground

I have added a column (right) calculating the total number of Tesla Model S with the assumption that Tesla sold only half as many Model S as my more accurate estimate (left).

Key points:
  • Accurate estimate shows 72% of EVs in Hong Kong are Tesla Model S.
  • Average of the estimates shows 68.5% of EVs in Hong Kong are Tesla Model S.
  • The above two percentages are close to 70%, which is the percentage I will use for easy referencing.
  • Estimates of Tesla Model S sales numbers in 2014 are having lesser effect on the latest estimate.
  • Latest estimate of Tesla Model S population is expected to improve in accuracy with time and EV growth.

As for our fight for Tesla Calendar and therefore against premature death of EV growth in Hong Kong, we will be meeting LegCo member Hon. Charles Mok and personnel from the Transport Department of Hong Kong. For a summary of the whole incident/incidence, click here.

Auto & Environment: EV Numbers and Growth (Estimates) in Hong Kong as of Dec 2015 (Pre-TD Figures) @Locky's English Playground

Auto & Environment: EV Numbers and Growth in Hong Kong as of Dec 2015 @Locky's English Playground

Auto & Technology: Who needs Tesla Calendar when you got this? (Summary) @Locky's English Playground

Sunday 12 June 2016

Auto & Technology: Who needs Tesla Calendar when you got this? (Summary)

Image from Locky's English Playground
I couldn't have stopped myself from making this video:

I could have used a more sarcastic tone, but I guess it is best to remain calm and rational.

This week I have really done amazing things.

On 5th June, I tweeted Elon and Electrek,

Then on the next day, 6th June, Electrek wrote an article on it, titled Hong Kong forces Tesla to update its software in order to walk back an innocent feature.

Image from Electrek
On the 7th June, I took a photo of a paper calendar and made the above video, which then Electrek "liked".
Image from Locky's English Playground
I shared my video on several Facebook groups, Tesla Worldwide, Hong Kong and Singapore, LINE, WhatsApp and they are still generating tonnes of discussions as of today.

On 8th June, the Transport Department of Hong Kong released an official response about the removal of Tesla Calendar,

TD's response to media enquiries on removal of Tesla calendar function
     In response to media enquiries on the removal of calendar function from Tesla vehicles, the Transport Department (TD) said today (June 8):

     Regulation 37 of the Road Traffic (Construction and Maintenance of Vehicles) Regulations (Cap 374A) prohibits any person from installing a visual display unit on a motor vehicle at any point forward of the driver's seat or where the screen is visible to the driver whilst in the driving seat, unless those visual images are permitted under the law, i.e.

(a) information about the current state of the vehicle or its equipment;
(b) the current closed-circuit view of any part of the vehicle or the area surrounding the vehicle;
(c) information about the current location of the vehicle; or
(d) any other information which is only for the purpose of navigating the vehicle.

     The above requirements were made having regard to driving safety considerations. In processing an application for type approval of a new Tesla model recently, the TD found that the visual display unit on the vehicle has displayed the calendar functional images. The TD then reminded Tesla that the new model must comply with the above legal requirement, otherwise it would not be able to comply with the requirements for type approval. We understand that subsequently, the manufacturer removed the function on its own initiative so as to comply with the legal requirements.

     In fact, the TD clearly conveyed to the Tesla in 2014 the clear requirement that the installation of visual display unit on vehicles must comply with the above requirements under the Hong Kong legislation.

     Hence, the decision made by Tesla this time to remove the calendar app from the new model and Tesla vehicles in use is based on legal requirements, instead of what Tesla told vehicle owners recently that "The calendar app has been removed as the Transport Department determined that the calendar app has no bearing on the drivability of the car".

     If any other vehicle models are found to have contravened the above legal requirements, the TD will also take follow-up actions in accordance with the law.

     For driving safety reasons, many jurisdictions such as some states in the US, Japan, Australia and Singapore impose different levels of restrictions on the use of visual display unit while driving.
Ends/Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Issued at HKT 20:58


There are many flaws in the arguments, but top threes are:

  1. TD has type-approved Tesla Model S back in June 2014 and Calendar was already there, they couldn't have not noticed because they banned Browser back then, which is on the same 17" screen.
  2. TD took action towards Tesla Calendar, which is 2 years old in Hong Kong but not this, which has been around since the days of mobile phones,
  3. US, Japan, Australia and Singapore impose different levels of restrictions on the use of VDU while driving, but Hong Kong's level is the highest in the world, selectively highest (see photo in 2).

On the same day, my video caught LegCo member Hon. Charles Mok JP's attention and he shared it on his Facebook page:
Image from Locky's English Playground

On 9th, a fellow Charged Hong Kong member Wilson Chung asked me if I wanted to meet Hon. Charles Mok to talk about the issue and of course I agreed. I gathered comments and information, compiled it into a PowerPoint presentation and emailed it to Charles.

On 10th June, we had that meeting.and we talked about ‎EV‬, First Registration Tax waiver , Tesla‬ Calendar ban, Tesla Summon ban,‬ ‪rear-facing seats ban, BYD‬, BMW‬ ‪, Car park EV charging‬ ‪, roadside meter charging‬, ‪driving assistance system,‬ ‎Environmental Protection Department‬, Transport Department‬ ‪, Kai Tak Cruise Terminal management, ‎EV health benefits,‬ ICE pollutions‬ and emissions‬, innovation‬ in ‎HongKong‬ and ‎Hong Kong Council for Technology & Creation (HKCTC).

After that, Charles' assistant and I had several email exchanges about the issues we have discussed at the meeting.

On 11th June, I shared an article in which Charged Hong Kong chairman Mark Webb-Johnson was asked about his views on the current regulations. As of now, the post has earned over 4800 views!

Let's pay attention to the development of this case. Should be ridiculously fun to follow!

PS: My video is at 1010 views now, let's see how many it can go.

Locky's English Playground Facebook page

TD's response to media enquiries on removal of Tesla calendar function

Transport Department forces Tesla to remove Calendar app @HarbourTimes