ArticlePDF Available

Hong Kong people's attitudes towards electric cars

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

The paper presents the results of a survey carried out in Hong Kong to gauge people's attitudes towards electric cars and the reason for the small number of electric cars on the roads. The survey, carried out among 200 people in November 2012, shows that people, in general, recognise the positive environmental, economic and social benefits that electric cars bring to Hong Kong, but prefer not to purchase electric cars because of their high costs. On the other hand, the technical limitations of electric cars (such as the short distance that electric cars can be driven before needing to be recharged) are not considered a major problem. The paper concludes that electric cars can successfully be introduced in Hong Kong if the government is more actively engaged through price incentives, and together with private operators provide additional support, including free parking and additional recharging stations.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Int. J. Electric and Hybrid Vehicles, Vol. 5, No. 1, 2013 1
5
Copyright © 2013 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.
Hong Kong people’s attitudes towards electric cars
Claudio O. Delang* and Wai-Tung Cheng
Department of Geography,
Hong Kong Baptist University,
Hong Kong
E-mail: cdelang@hkbu.edu.hk
E-mail: wtcheng@hkbu.edu.hk
*Corresponding author
Abstract: The paper presents the results of a survey carried out in Hong Kong
to gauge people’s attitudes towards electric cars and the reason for the
small number of electric cars on the roads. The survey, carried out among
200 people in November 2012, shows that people, in general, recognise the
positive environmental, economic and social benefits that electric cars bring
to Hong Kong, but prefer not to purchase electric cars because of their high
costs. On the other hand, the technical limitations of electric cars (such as the
short distance that electric cars can be driven before needing to be recharged)
are not considered a major problem. The paper concludes that electric cars can
successfully be introduced in Hong Kong if the government is more actively
engaged through price incentives, and together with private operators
provide additional support, including free parking and additional recharging
stations.
Keywords: electric cars; consumer attitudes; Hong Kong.
Reference to this paper should be made as follows: Delang, C.O. and
Cheng, W-T. (2013) ‘Hong Kong people’s attitudes towards electric cars’,
Int. J. Electric and Hybrid Vehicles, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp.15–27.
Biographical notes: Claudio O. Delang is a Research Assistant Professor in
the Department of Geography of the Hong Kong Baptist University.
Wai-Tung Cheng is a Researcher in the Department of Geography of the
Hong Kong Baptist University.
1 Introduction
In spite of over 100 years of development, electric cars have not replaced
fossil-fuel-based cars. The reasons are varied. Høyer (2008) argued that although
electric cars are commercially available, they are not welcomed by most car users,
mainly because of the battery problem (Høyer, 2008; see also Cowan and Hultén (1996),
Bradley and Frank (2009)): the “size and cost of batteries, relative to the energy quantity
they can carry, seem strongly limiting in order to produce a car of sufficient size, capacity
and vehicular range between each recharging” (Høyer, 2008, p.70). Another problem is
the slow charging of batteries: over 80% of the current-developed electric cars require at
least 30 min for quick recharging of up to 80% of electricity, while a full recharge may
16 C.O. Delang and W-T. Cheng
take 7–8 h time in normal conditions (Lau, 2009). Also, the performance of electric cars
is dependent on the weather conditions: low temperatures (0°C or below) can have
negative impacts on the battery’s performance, creating operational ineffectiveness
and increasing on-road energy consumption, which will further limit the vehicular range
(Kim et al., 2008). Finally, as discussed by Black (2000), Delucchi and Lipman (2001),
the price of electric cars is higher than that of conventional cars, mainly owing to the high
cost of the batteries, large investment involved in the research and development process,
and the small numbers of electric cars produced (Weinert et al., 2008). Though the fuel
used by electric cars may be cheaper than that used by internal combustion engines, since
the battery has a limited lifetime, the replacement cost of the batteries will add up to the
total cost of the car. The relatively high costs of purchase and low durability of key
components are significant barriers to the wider use of electric cars (Jorgensen, 2008;
Delucchi and Lipman, 2001).
Though these are the technical limitations to the adoption of electric cars, the question
remains as to what is the attitude of the general public, what is their knowledge on
electric cars, and what kind of reforms may be undertaken to convince them to use
electric cars. This paper will look at these issues, in what concerns Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is one of the most densely inhabited territories in the world: with a
total land mass of only 1104 km2 and with a total population of 7.1 million in 2012;
it has a population density of 6431 people per km2 (the third largest population density
in the world). However, most people live on 120 km2 of built-up land, resulting in
59,167 persons per km2 (Warren-Rhodes and Koenig, 2001; Delang and Ling, 2008).
Because of the very high population density in particular pockets, public transportation
can be organised efficiently and cheaply, which results in low car ownership: in June
2012, there were 443,442 licensed private cars in Hong Kong (HK, 2012), making it one
of the lowest per-capita car ownerships in the world, with 1 car for 16 people.
The small number of cars does not mean that Hong Kong has low air pollution.
Hong Kong is one of the most polluted cities in the world. Air pollution costs the city
about HK$ 21.2 billion a year in hospital admissions and lost productivity (Scent, 2007),
and is linked to 4800 additional deaths between 2007 and 2010, according to researchers
at the University of Hong Kong (Bloomberg News, 2011). Urban environmental
problems from transport harm Hong Kong’s status and competitiveness as a world-class
city (Rusco and Walls, 1995).
The Hong Kong government tends to either deny the problem, or argue that the
pollution is blown from Guangdong province in China, and therefore there is little it can
do. In 2006, Donald Tsang (the Chief Executive of Hong Kong) declared that
“In fact, the air is not all that bad. In fact, the air this year is better than it
was last year, and last year was better than the year before. The air quality
today is not inferior to Washington DC, if I may say so. But I’m really not
complacent, and I know there is a lot of work to do. Not only in Hong Kong –
in Hong Kong we have limitations on what we can do. We have now cleaned
up our old vehicular fleet. We have two power stations to look at, and we
have to make sure they are up to the mark. But beyond that, it is all outside of
Hong Kong. And on that we are working very hard with the mainland,
particularly in Guandong Province.” (Hong Kong Journal, 2006)
Similarly, the Environmental Protection Department
Hong Kong people’s attitudes towards electric cars 17
“blamed regional air pollution [i.e., China’s air pollution being blown to
Hong Kong] for deteriorating street-level air quality, [arguing that] three key
pollutants emitted by motor vehicles had in fact fallen, while regionally [i.e.,
Chinese] generated ozone was combining with other pollutants to form nitrogen
dioxide by the road, pushing up the figures.” (Chi-fai, 2009)
However, others point out that if Hong Kong reduced the pollution of its own vehicles,
air pollution would drop drastically (Leverett et al., 2007). As Chi-fai writes,
“Air pollution at street level has soared in the past four years while improving
at the city’s rooftops, calling into question assertions that Hong Kong’s
chronic air-quality problems have a regional more than local source.
Roadside monitoring stations recorded more than six times as many periods
of health-threatening pollution levels in the first half of this year than in the
same period in 2005.” (Chi-fai, 2009)
In spite of generally denying the problem, the Hong Kong government has engaged in
limited policies to introduce less-polluting vehicles. For example, the government
imported 10 ‘i MiEV’ electric cars, produced by Mitsubishi Motors of Japan, to be tried
in various government departments and private corporations (Lau, 2009), later to be
increased to 200, as announced by Donald Tsang during the 2009–2010 policy address
(October 2009). In March 2011, the government set up a HK$ 300 million fund,
to subsidise the adoption of electric vehicles by public transport operators (Bloomberg
News, 2011), aiming at 15% of public busses being low emission by 2020. In spite of the
slow and small adoption of electric cars, Hong Kong was set to become one of the Asian
cities with the largest fleet of electric vehicles (Tsang, 2009a, 2009b, 2010), perhaps an
indicator of the apathy of other Asian cities rather than an ambitious grand plan by the
Hong Kong government.
Hong Kong is a good place for the use of electric cars, because of the physical
conditions of Hong Kong and the travelling behaviour of local citizens. Hong Kong is a
compact and dense city, where most trips are short in distance. Hence, the short range
of electric cars (mostly within the 100–200 km range) would not be a problem in
Hong Kong (ETCACC, 2009). Yet, people have been very slow in adopting electric cars,
and the limited effort of the government is not sufficient to make an impact on roadside
air quality.
This paper looks at the attitudes of Hong Kong people towards electric cars and the
reason for their slow adoption by private drivers. In Hong Kong, the main barrier
of implementation is indeed a non-technical one (Callow, 1999), and the attitudes,
perceptions and mindset of people towards electric cars are the most significant factors
that influence their broad adaptation (Golob and Gould, 1998; see also Chéron and Zins,
1997). As Gould and Golob (1998, p.157) argue, the demand of electric cars mainly
depends on individuals “adopting a new ethic towards range and refuelling opportunities
in response to a common good”. Research on consumer preferences for electric cars
has been scarce (for exceptions see, for example, Ewing and Sarigöllü (2000)), in
particular for Asian cities, and this paper aims at helping to fill that vacuum. Besides
yielding a better understanding of people’s knowledge about electric cars, the paper aims
at helping guide future policy and planning towards the introduction of electric cars in
Hong Kong.
18 C.O. Delang and W-T. Cheng
2 Method
This paper reports the results of a questionnaire survey carried out in November 2012,
to understand the attitudes of the HK drivers towards electric cars. A total of 200 car
drivers (82% male and 18% female) were interviewed at the exit of car parks. Five car
parks, belonging to five shopping centres, were identified, because of their geographic
dispersion and the different socio-economic groups they serve: New Town Plaza in
Shatin (New Territories), Megabox and Festival Walk in Kowloon Tong, and Sogo and
Pacific Place in Hong Kong Island. Approximately, 60% of the people approached
declined to be interviewed.
The interviewees were given a questionnaire with a choice of five options, and were
asked to give a score from one to five, one being the lowest (strongly disagree, extremely
unacceptable, not at all), and five being the highest (strongly agree, extremely acceptable,
very large). The responses were coded on a 5-point Likert scale. In the following tables,
the responses are given as percentages. The interviewees were not given information on
electric cars during or before they filled in the questionnaire, so as to also understand the
level of knowledge of Hong Kong. In the following section, under each table is given the
question that table refers to. In the tables, the answers are ranked by mean.
The questionnaire was divided into two sections, first the perception of the
interviewees towards electric cars, dividing the findings into environmental perspectives,
economic perspectives and social perspectives. Second, the constraints on the use of
electric cars and the reforms that should be undertaken (by the government or the
industry) to encourage the introduction of electric cars. The following sections present
the results in this same order.
3 Results: perception of drivers towards electric cars
We start with the environmental perceptions. Table 1 shows the overall evaluation of
people’s perceptions of the environmental benefits of electric cars, and the results show
that not all interviewees have a clear understanding of the environmental costs of internal
combustion vehicles, or the benefits of electric vehicles. Most respondents agree that
electric cars can effectively reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants. This
response has the highest mean of all items: 4.46, while 92% of interviewees rated the
question 4 or 5 (agree or strongly agree). On the other hand, with a mean of 4.29, fewer
people agree that electric vehicles would reduce roadside air pollution. These results are a
little surprising. While the pollutants emitted – indirectly – by electric cars is closely
related to the question of how the electricity is produced (and in Hong Kong a large
proportion of electricity is produced by burning coal), it is clear that roadside air
pollution would drop to almost zero. The next environmental benefit interviewees were
asked about was the reduction of land pollution. With a mean of 2.98 (neutral), people
seemed to not fully recognise the contamination that air pollutants have on soil and water.
The environmental benefit considered the least significant is the reduction of water
pollution, only having a mean of 2.75 and the percentage of respondents rated 3 and
below is up to 90%. Most people seem to ignore the negative impact that internal
combustion engine-powered vehicles have on water pollution, through oil spills and the
deposit of airborne pollutants on water bodies. From these first questions, it can be said
that people only consider the negative consequences that most directly affect them.
Hong Kong people’s attitudes towards electric cars 19
Table 1 Environmental benefits of electric cars
Strongly
disagree Disagree Neutral Agree
Strongly
agree
1 2 3 4 5
Mean ±SD
Reduce transport emissions of
greenhouse gases and air pollutants
0.0 0.0 8.0 38.0 54.0 4.46 0.64228
Alleviate roadside air pollution 0.0 3.0 11.0 40.0 46.0 4.29 0.78231
Reduce land pollution (e.g., soil
contamination by acidic sulphur
dioxide)
0.0 17.0 68.0 15.0 0.0 2.98 0.56818
Reduce water pollution (e.g., runoff
contamination)
0.0 35.0 55.0 10.0 0.0 2.75 0.62563
Question asked: “Can electric cars …”
Interviewees were also asked questions concerning the possible negative environmental
consequences of electric cars, and all three issues considered seemed to be ‘rather
unacceptable’ (Table 2). The most unacceptable problem identified by respondents was
the generation of non-recyclable (battery) waste, which had a mean of 1.96, with 39% of
respondents considering it to be Extremely Unacceptable. The other two potential
problems interviewees were asked about were related to the production of electricity.
Increasing emissions from power plants obtained a mean of 2.15, and using electricity
produced from non-renewable fossil fuels had a mean of 2.21. It seems that interviewees
would only accept renewable energy sources.
Notwithstanding these constraints, people do believe that electric cars are
environmentally friendly modes of transport (mean 3.72) (Table 3), which improve the
overall quality of the environment in Hong Kong, though not to a considerable extent,
considering the low mean (mean 3.11).
Turning to the economic perspectives of electric cars, Table 4 displays the overall
perception towards possible economic benefits of electric cars. People slightly agree that
a large fleet of electric cars would improve Hong Kong’s image, though the mean
is of only 3.41. An even smaller number says that a fleet of electric cars would enhance
Hong Kong’s competitiveness, Hong Kong automobile development, or the long-term
economic growth of Hong Kong. It is clear that the people do not perceive electric cars to
have an overwhelming economic benefit on Hong Kong, though they agree that,
in general, electric cars have more benefits than drawbacks. These results are
somehow surprising. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the Hong Kong-based
EuAuto Technology Limited have developed and produced two electric cars, the EuAuto
CV.2 since 2006 and the EuAuto CV.4 since 2008. Perhaps, this is not well known by
Hong Kong people, although one needs to recognise that few models have been sold,
so the economic impact of this venture is very limited. EuAuto has been sold in 2010 to
the US-based GreenTech Automotive, so the positive economic impact of the EuAuto
on the Hong Kong economy might have ended. However, since Hong Kong imports all
its fossil fuels, but produces some of its electricity with wind turbine (a large offshore
wind farm is also being planned for the near future) the economic benefits of electric cars
should be higher than those of internal combustion engine-powered vehicles.
20 C.O. Delang and W-T. Cheng
Table 2 Possible negative environmental issues of electric cars
Extremely
unacceptable
Rather
unacceptable Neutral
Rather
acceptable
Extremely
acceptable
1 2 3 4 5
Mean ±SD
Produce battery waste
which may not be
recycled
39.0 30.0 28.0 2.0 1.0 1.96 0.92025
Increase emissions from
power plants due to high
electricity consumption
(i.e., diverts pollution
source to power plants)
27.0 31.0 42.0 0.0 0.0 2.15 0.82112
Use electricity which
is produced from
non-renewable fossil fuels
(including coal, oil,
natural gas)
9.0 64.0 24.0 3.0 0.0 2.21 0.64031
Question asked: “If electric cars …”
Table 3 Evaluation on the environmental significance of electric cars
Not at all Somewhat Neutral Slightly Considerably
1 2 3 4 5
Mean ±SD
Electric vehicle is
environmentally-friendly
0.0 6.0 22.0 66.0 6.0 3.72 0.66787
Electric vehicle improves
the overall quality of
Hong Kong’s environment
0.0 10.0 69.0 21.0 0.0 3.11 0.54855
Question asked: “To what extent you think that …”
Overall, people have a neutral outlook of the benefit that electric cars can make to the
Hong Kong economy, with a mean score of 3.07 (Table 5).
Turning to the social perspectives of electric cars (Table 6), we can see that Hong
Kong people see electric cars as enhancing the liveability in Hong Kong, but not very
strongly, since the score given is only of 3.58. People also think that public health would
be improved, but with an even-lower score of 3.33. This is very surprising, since air
pollution is very high in Hong Kong. Such a low score might be due to the fact that the
government tends to blame China for Hong Kong air pollution, and people might
have gotten used to disassociate air pollution with autochthonous road transport.
An even-lower score is given to a reduction of traffic noise level (score of 3.21), which is
also surprising, since electric cars’ noise is limited to the noise of the tyres on the tarmac,
the motors being very silent. We can conclude that the people interviewed do not always
have a very good understanding of these aspects of electric cars we have grouped
under ‘social benefits’. There seems to be scope for more education on these aspects of
electric cars.
Hong Kong people’s attitudes towards electric cars 21
Table 4 Economic benefits of electric cars
Strongly
disagree Disagree Neutral Agree
Strongly
agree
1 2 3 4 5
Mean ±SD
Improve Hong Kong’s
image
0.0 3.0 60.0 30.0 7.0 3.41 0.66810
Enhance Hong Kong’s
competitiveness
0.0 22.0 37.0 35.0 6.0 3.25 0.86893
Encourage Hong Kong’s
automobile development
0.0 14.0 69.0 15.0 2.0 3.05 0.60927
Enhance economic growth
of Hong Kong in the long
term
1.0 22.0 69.0 7.0 1.0 2.85 0.56246
Question asked “Electric cars can …”
Table 5 Evaluation on the economic significance of electric cars
Not at all
Almost
not at all Neutral
To some
extent
To a very
large extent
1 2 3 4 5
Mean ±SD
To what extent do you
think that electric cars are
economically-beneficial?
1.0 19.0 52.0 28.0 0.0 3.07 0.71428
Table 6 Social benefits of electric cars
Strongly
disagree Disagree Neutral Agree
Strongly
agree
1 2 3 4 5
Mean ±SD
Enhance the general
liveability of Hong Kong
0.0 8.0 30.0 58.0 4.0 3.58 0.69891
Improve public health of
Hong Kong
0.0 8.0 53.0 37.0 2.0 3.33 0.65219
Reduce traffic noise level 0.0 15.0 50.0 34.0 1.0 3.21 0.70057
Enhance socio-economic
development of Hong Kong
4.0 21.0 59.0 15.0 1.0 2.88 0.74236
Increase daily accessibility
(i.e., the ease of reaching
the destination)
15.0 42.0 32.0 8.0 3.0 2.42 0.94473
Question asked: “Comparing to non-electric cars, electric cars can: …”
Even more surprising are the perceived low benefits that electric cars make
to the socio-economic development of Hong Kong. The score for that question is
of only 2.88, which indicates that most people think that electric cars will not enhance the
socio-economic development. Finally, most people think that electric cars will not
improve accessibility (score of 2.42).
22 C.O. Delang and W-T. Cheng
Interviewees were also asked to assess the general social sustainability of electric
cars, and gave a slightly positive reply, with a mean of 3.20 (Table 7).
From the previous responses, it seems that the environmental aspects are the most
positive to people, followed by the economic aspects, and finally the social ones. Some
social aspects were the only ones that drew a negative score (below 3). In spite of the fact
that many scores in the previous tables do not reflect an overly enthusiastic attitude
towards electric cars, when asked whether they support electric cars in Hong Kong,
interviewees overwhelmingly did, with a mean rating 4.11 (Table 8).
On the basis of the environmental, economic and social perceptions of electric cars,
we can conclude that electric transportation has a relatively high level of support
among local drivers. Hence, the small number of electric cars on Hong Kong streets
cannot entirely be attributed to people’s negative attitudes towards electric cars.
We turn to the question of which factors constrain the purchase of electric cars by Hong
Kong drivers.
Table 7 Evaluation on the social significance of electric cars
Strongly
disagree Disagree Neutral Agree
Strongly
agree
1 2 3 4 5
Mean ±SD
To what extent you think that
electric vehicle is socially-
sustainable? (i.e., satisfying
basic development needs of
accessibility and economic
growth while eliminating the
negative externalities like
health and noise problems)
3.0 18.0 39.0 36.0 4.0 3.20 0.88762
Table 8 Evaluation on the level of support towards electric cars
Strongly
does not
support
Does not
support Neutral Support
Strongly
support
1 2 3 4 5
Mean ±SD
Based on the above
answers, can you state
your level of support
towards the use of electric
vehicles in Hong Kong?
0.0 3.0 11.0 58.0 28.0 4.11 0.70917
4 Constraints on the use of electric cars
In this section, the public willingness to buy electric cars will be assessed by gauging the
attitudes towards particular characteristics of such cars, as well as the measures that
may be implemented to encourage consumers to buy them. The different items the
interviewees were asked about were selected following a literature review of existing
Hong Kong people’s attitudes towards electric cars 23
studies, including the characteristics of electric cars, the Hong Kong road network and
Hong Kong legislation.
Unsurprisingly, among the characteristics of electric cars that would make people buy
them, the potential savings that users may make from using electricity was given a very
high score (mean of 4.18, Table 9). The limited vehicular range of electric cars was not
considered a drawback in Hong Kong (mean of 3.38), since Hong Kong is a relatively
small territory, and most drivers would more likely drive less than 50 km a day. The
recharging time of 3–8 h is also not considered a big problem by most interviewees, with
a mean of 3.21, and 71% of the interviewees giving it a neutral score. On the other hand,
the cost of the electric cars is an important negative factor. This is reflected both in the
cost of replacing the battery, which often corresponds to 30–50% of the purchase price of
the car (mean of 2.44), and the price of the car itself, which is 30–40% higher than that of
conventional cars with similar characteristics (mean of 2.10). However, the short battery
lifespan (3–10 years) was not considered a very important factor (mean of 3.21). One
drawback is the lower speed and performance compared with conventional cars. This is
often mentioned as one of the main problems of electric cars. The people interviewed
agreed (with a score of 2.05) that this was an important factor that would discourage them
from buying an electric car. The small number of recharge stations in Hong Kong is also
an impediment (mean of 2.06). Hong Kong has, at present, only 330 charging points in
public car parks (Bloomberg News, 2011), though this number is up from 49 in 2009
(CLP, 2010), and the government committed to increase this number to 1000 by
June 2012 (Bloomberg News, 2011). Since most of the city’s 7.1 million people live in
high-rise apartments that lack recharging points for their batteries, they cannot top-up the
batteries overnight. The incentives for the administrators of high-rise buildings to add
charging points in their parking lots is limited, because by law they cannot resell the
electricity at a higher price than they paid for, which means that they would not be able to
profit from (or recoup) their investment. According to Hong Kong law, electric cars are
only allowed to travel on roads that have a speed limit of 50 km/h or less. This is a strong
deterrent for Hong Kong people, since it makes transportation within the territory much
more time consuming, hence the mean of only 1.63.
Table 10 reports the overall perception towards electric cars. The mean rating
is 3.44, which can be considered a moderate level of positive outlook. Also, a total
of 52% respondents chose the rating of 4 or 5, which means a positive to very positive
attitude.
Table 11 reports on the respondents’ preferences for various policies that may be
pursued by the government or the industry to promote the introduction of electric cars.
The most popular measures are obviously financial incentives, which can take the form of
price subsidies (mean of 4.30), exemptions from the first registration tax (mean of 4.12),
free parking (mean of 3.99) and rebates (mean of 3.43). Rebates may have obtained a
lower score than price subsidies because there is usually a time-lag in rebates, while price
subsidies are a direct discount on the price paid, so people will usually prefer subsidies to
rebates (Ahman, 2006). The desire for financial incentives is understandable, given the
high price of electric cars (Bloomberg News, 2011), but it would probably also be there if
electric cars and their batteries were not as pricy.
24 C.O. Delang and W-T. Cheng
Table 9 Evaluation on the willingness to purchase an electric car
Strongly
disagree Disagree Neutral Agree
Strongly
agree
1 2 3 4 5
Mean ±SD
It can save energy cost for about
70–80%
0.0 0.0 13.0 56.0 31.0 4.18 0.64770
The vehicular range (i.e., distance
can travel between each recharge)
is limited to be within
100–200 km
0.0 11.0 40.0 49.0 0.0 3.38 0.67838
Its battery lifespan is about
3–10 years
0.0 4.0 71.0 25.0 0.0 3.21 0.49838
The recharging time for full
power is about 3–8 hours in
normal conditions
0.0 10.0 75.0 15.0 0.0 3.05 0.50000
The replacement cost of the
battery is estimated to be 30–50%
of the vehicle’s initial cost
1.0 54.0 45.0 0.0 0.0 2.44 0.51874
Its price is 30–40% higher than
conventional vehicle
20.0 55.0 20.0 5.0 0.0 2.10 0.77198
Its speed is lower and
performance is relatively poor
when comparing to conventional
cars
19.0 57.0 24.0 0.0 0.0 2.05 0.65712
Accessible recharging stations are
limited in Hong Kong
17.0 60.0 23.0 0.0 0.0 2.06 0.63277
There is road limitation in
Hong Kong (i.e., According to
government’s regulation, electric
cars are only allowed to travel on
roads having a speed limit at or
under 50 km/h)
46.0 45.0 9.0 0.0 0.0 1.63 0.64596
Question asked: “You are willing to buy an electric vehicle if: …”
Table 10 Evaluation on the overall perception towards electric cars
Very
negative Negative Neutral Positive
Very
positive
1 2 3 4 5
Mean ±SD
Your overall
perception towards
electric car
0.0 14.0 34.0 46.0 6.0 3.44 0.80804
Other policies are also strongly desired by potential consumers. First, the introduction of
additional recharging stations (mean of 4.15), which reflects the problem of the very
small number of recharging stations available in the territory. Second is the desire to
influence public policies (mean of 4.16). When people are allowed to participate in the
decisions made by public authorities, they may then have more confidence that the
decision was good (Ahman, 2006). The public also would like to see more brands and
Hong Kong people’s attitudes towards electric cars 25
models being introduced (mean of 3.77). Few brands are available in Hong Kong,
most cars driven being MyCar and iMiEV. The reason for the little choice available
to potential buyers is also because in Hong Kong people drive on the left, but producing
left-hand drive cars for such a small market increases their price.
Table 11 Evaluation on the preference of electric car policies
Strongly
disagree Disagree Neutral Agree
Strongly
agree
1 2 3 4 5
Mean ±SD
Price subsidies (20–50%) 0.0 0.0 1.0 68.0 31.0 4.30 0.48199
Introduction of recharging stations
in public and private car parks
0.0 0.0 9.0 67.0 24.0 4.15 0.55732
Exemption from first
registration tax
0.0 0.0 5.0 78.0 17.0 4.12 0.45571
Greater degree of citizen’s
participation (e.g., public
consultation over the programme)
0.0 0.0 14.0 56.0 30.0 4.16 0.64698
Free parking 0.0 0.0 27.0 47.0 26.0 3.99 0.73161
Introduction of more brands
and models
0.0 0.0 34.0 55.0 11.0 3.77 0.63333
Rebates 0.0 2.0 55.0 41.0 2.0 3.43 0.57304
Public trials 0.0 7.0 57.0 28.0 8.0 3.37 0.73381
Battery leasing 0.0 22.0 56.0 22.0 0.0 3.00 0.66666
Question asked: “Would the following measures encourage you to use
an electric vehicle?”
Finally, people do not seem to have a strong feeling about public trials of electric cars
(mean 3.37) and battery leasing (mean 3.00) policies perhaps because of insufficient
information by the interviewees. Though a few electric cars are tested in Hong Kong,
their trials are usually small in scale. For example, several iMiEV models were only
tested in government departments (such as the Environment Bureau and the Transport
and Housing Bureau) and China Light and Power (CLP), while the general public is not
able to test them. Similarly, battery leasing is a new concept, which in most cases is still
being tested, to understand its feasibility and the possible operational procedures in Hong
Kong. A lack of understanding of these policies may have adversely affected the scores
given in the survey.
5 Conclusion
The answers from the survey indicate that people recognise the environmental benefits of
electric cars, but not so much the economic and social benefits. Some of the answers
provided by the interviewees show that they may lack knowledge of the characteristics
and consequences of electric cars, so there is scope for additional information provided
by the government, information outlets, advocacy groups, or electric car manufacturers or
importers.
26 C.O. Delang and W-T. Cheng
The technical limits of electric cars, in particular the fact that most models may only
be driven for 100–200 km before needing to be recharged would not be a problem in
Hong Kong, since Hong Kong is a small territory (there are considerable restrictions to
enter Mainland China with a car registered in Hong Kong). However, other limitations
would need to be overcome, including the fact that most of the 7.1 million people
who live in Hong Kong live in high-rise buildings without the facilities necessary
for nightly recharge. This seems to be a drawback, which could be overcome with
government policies, investments by power supply companies (of which there are only
two in Hong Kong, both of which have started providing recharging stations) or drivers’
requests to the companies that manage the high-rise buildings. The biggest drawback to
the introduction of electric cars from the perspectives of consumers seems to be the high
price. The government has engaged in limited schemes aimed at subsidising electric cars,
but these are obviously not sufficient.
References
Ahman, M. (2006) ‘Government policy and the development of electric vehicles in Japan’,
Energy Policy, Vol. 34, No. 4, pp.433–443.
Black, W.R. (2000) ‘Socio-economic barriers to sustainable transport’, Journal of Transport
Geography, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp.141–147.
Bloomberg News (2011) ‘Nissan leaf may choke in Hong Kong smog’, Bloomberg News,
Accessed 15 November, 2012, at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-14/nissan-leaf-
may-choke-in-hong-kong-smog.html#
Bradley, T.H. and Frank, A.A. (2009) ‘Design, demonstrations and sustainability impact
assessments for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles’, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews,
Vol. 13, No. 1, pp.115–128.
Callow, G.D. (1999) ‘The Bourner lecture: electric vehicles: Can we get there from here?’,
Journal of Power Sources, Vol. 80, Nos. 1–2, pp.xvii–xxi.
Chéron, E. and Zins, M. (1997) ‘Electric vehicle purchasing intentions: the concern over battery
charge duration’, Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Vol. 31, No. 3,
pp.235–243.
Chi-fai, C. (2009) ‘Roadside air pollution up sixfold in 4 years – HK traffic not Guangdong
factories to blame: scientists’, South China Morning Post, 15 July, 2009, Accessed
15 November, 2012, at http://news.newclear.server279.com/?p=1264
CLP (2010) CLP Power’s 21st Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station Enters into Operation
in Preparation for more EVs to Hong Kong, Media Release, 16 July, 2010, Accessed
15 November, 2012, from https://www.clp.com.hk/ourcompany/news/Pages/20100716.aspx
Cowan, R. and Hultén, S. (1996) ‘Escaping lock-in: the case of the electric vehicle’, Technological
Forecasting and Social Change, Vol. 53, No. 1, pp.61–79.
Delang, C.O. and Ling, T.Y. (2008) ‘Managing wetlands: an ecological economic analysis of the
Hong Kong Wetland Park’, Ecological Economy, Vol. 4, pp.440–453.
Delucchi, M.A. and Lipman, T.E. (2001) ‘An analysis of the retail and lifecycle cost of
battery-powered electric vehicles’, Transportation Research Part D: Transport and
Environment, Vol. 6, No. 6, pp.371–404.
ETCACC (2009) Environmental Impacts and Impact on the Electricity Market of a Large Scale
Introduction of Electric Cars in Europe, European Topic Centre on Air and Climate Change:
ETCACC Technical Paper, Report No.: 2009/4.
Ewing, G. and Sarigöllü, E. (2000) ‘Assessing consumer preferences for clean-fuel vehicles:
a discrete choice experiment’, Journal of Public Policy Marketing, Vol. 19, No. 1,
pp.106–118.
Hong Kong people’s attitudes towards electric cars 27
Golob, T.F. and Gould, J. (1998) ‘Projecting use of electric vehicles from household vehicle trials’,
Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Vol. 32, No. 7, pp.441–454.
HK (2012) Hong Kong: The Facts – Transport, September 2012, Accessed 25 November, 2012
at http://www.gov.hk/en/about/abouthk/factsheets/docs/transport.pdf
Hong Kong Journal (2006) An Interview with Donald Tsang, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive,
Accessed 25 November, 2012, at http://www.hkjournal.org/archive/2006_summer/tsang.html
Høyer, K.G. (2008) ‘The history of alternative fuels in transportation: the case of electric and
hybrid cars’, Utilities Policy, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp.63–71.
Jorgensen, K. (2008) ‘Technologies for electric, hybrid and hydrogen vehicles: electricity from
renewable energy sources in transport’, Utilities Policy, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp.72–79.
Kim, B.G., Tredeau, F.P. and Salameh, Z.M. (2008) ‘Performance evaluation of lithium polymer
batteries for use in electric vehicles’, Paper presented at the Vehicle Power and Propulsion
Conference (VPPC), 3–5 September, Harbin, China, pp.1–5.
Lau, K. (2009) ‘How electric cars can cultivate a green future’, Journal of The American Chamber
of Commerce in Hong Kong, June, pp.11–25.
Leverett, B., Hopkinson, L., Loh, C. and Trumbull, K. (2007) Idling Engine: Hong Kong’s
Environmental Policy in a Ten Year Stall 1997–2007, Civic Exchange, Hong Kong.
Rusco, F.W. and Walls W.D. (1995) ‘Vehicular emissions and control policies in Hong Kong’,
Contemporary Economic Policy, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp.50–61.
Scent, B. (2007) ‘HK pollution blamed as Rogers picks Singapore’, The Standard, 19 November.
Tsang, D. (2009a) The 2009-10 Policy Address, Hong Kong SAR Government, Hong Kong.
Tsang, J.C. (2009b) The 2009-10 Budget, Hong Kong SAR Government, Hong Kong, pp.36, 37.
Tsang, J.C. (2010) The 2010-11 Budget, Retrieved 6 April, 2010, from http://www.budget.gov.hk/
2010/chi/budget31.html
Warren-Rhodes, K. and Koenig, A. (2001) ‘Ecosystem appropriation by Hong Kong and its
implications for sustainable development’, Ecological Economics, Vol. 39, No. 3, pp.347–359.
Weinert, J., Ogden, J., Sperling, D. and Burke, A. (2008) ‘The future of electric two-wheelers and
electric vehicles in China’, Energy Policy, Vol. 36, No. 7, pp.2544–2555.
... The price of EVs are considered to be higher than conventional vehicles due to the high cost of electric-power train and Li-ion battery, and this high initial cost could be a deterrent for EV adoption [38]. The cost of ownership (e.g., high purchase cost, inconvenience due to limited charging infrastructure, and uncertainty about running-costs) of an EV is one of the financial factors that can affect the intention to buy EVs [39]. Chanaron and Teske [23] postulated rising fuel price as a major contributor for calculating the cost of car ownership. ...
... Regarding the charging conditions, many studies suggested that people would adopt EVs if there were charging facilities at work [48], at home [49] and on the highways [50]. Infrastructure preparedness and support are expected to be a crucial factor to promote private adoption of EVs [16] [39]. The lack of supporting infrastructure may hinder consumer acceptance of fully electric vehicles. ...
... Social influence was measured using scale items from Axsen & Kurani [36]. Cost of ownership items was adopted from Delang & Cheng [39] whereas Infrastructure support items were taken from Krupa et al. [54] and She et al. [52]. Purchase intention was measured using scale adapted from Hidrue et al. [51] and Wang et al. [55]. ...
... Frequently, the fuel used by electric trucks is cheaper, when compared with ICEVs (Delang and Cheng, 2013). However, it is dependent on the weather conditions and low temperatures (0°C or below), which can have negative impacts on the battery's performance. ...
... The limitations of Lisbon are quite the same as other cities around the world (e.g., Hong Kong), due to its compact and dense streets, most of trips are short in distance; therefore, the short range of electric vehicles (mostly within the 100-200 km range) would not represent a problem to the needs of public services (Delang and Cheng, 2013). Consequently, electric light vehicles might be a reliable choice, since the other forms of EVs (e.g., hybrid electric vehicles), as motor vehicles, are more credible to long distances (Racicovschi et al., 2007). ...
Article
Full-text available
In the last years, most European countries have developed strategies to implement the use of electric vehicles. This paper uses a qualitative case study research in the automotive industry to evaluate the efficiencies concerning the implementation of the first electric light truck produced for public services. The results indicate that electric light trucks in public services are more efficient, economically reliable and contribute to the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. Moreover, the strategy of using these vehicles is suitable for nocturnal collection of urban waste, to the extent that it reduces the daily traffic and, at the same time, drastically reduces the noise caused by diesel engines during night hours, thus, improving the quality of life on residential areas. By investing on such strategy, European governments are giving a step further to accomplish the European Commission requirements, which is stimulated by the reduction of the carbon dioxide footprint.
... In a 2012 survey conducted in Hong Kong, most people understand the environmental, economic and social benefits of EVs, but they prefer not to purchase electric cars because of the high costs. Average purchase willingness when the consumer faces a higher price is 2.10 out of 5 (Delang and Cheng, 2013). To date, EV companies in Hong Kong have been unable to make EVs affordable to the local community. ...
... The public electric car charger distribution is summarized in Table 1. According to the study, of the 7.1 million people living in Hong Kong as of 2013, most live in high-rise buildings that lack charging resources (Delang and Cheng, 2013). This figure makes people disinterested in the technology, causing many to prefer using ICEs due to convenience. ...
Article
Full-text available
The electric vehicle (EV) has proven to be a workable solution to minimizing environmental pollution. The EV has generally received substantial attention from both individual customers and corporate users. The EV has transformed remarkably and in recent years emerged as the most quickly developing section of the automobile industry. China has proven to be an outstanding country in enhancing the manufacture and marketing of EVs. Nevertheless, green environment, charging infrastructure and technology are the three main challenges leading to slowing down the penetration progress of EVs into the Greater Bay Area (GBA) of China. This study aims to report the existing development of the EV industry in China. Then, it elaborates on national policies to facilitate the enlargement of charging infrastructures, explains how to stimulate the development of charging infrastructure at the national level, discusses the implementation dilemma at the provincial and city levels, and highlights the challenges and policy gaps. Finally, it addresses some issues, challenges, progress and implications for improving the EV penetration in the GBA in the forthcoming years.
... (Element Energy, 2009;Golob & Gould, 1998). Hence, the charging infrastructure is provided to support more generally the promotion of individual usage of EVs (Lim et al., 2014;Delang & Cheng, 2013). In contrary, Thananusak et al. (2017) reported that Thai car buyers opt for performance factors over infrastructure. ...
Article
Full-text available
Electric Vehicles (EVs) are in high demand in many cities in China. In fact, industry reports show that the Chinese market is one of the largest with huge growth potential for the electric vehicle industry. Despite that, less is known on the impact of the consumer buying decision of EVs in China. Following this, the study aims to understand the key factors influencing the purchase of EVs in China. Specifically, this study will bridge the gap between consumers’ decision-making process by incorporating the key factors relevant to current purchase of EVs in China from a Stimulus-Response theory perspective. An empirical study using online survey questionnaires approach is proposed which, will be beneficial for both manufacturers and distributors in their sales and distribution strategy.
... In the context of environment protection, many studies have found that reduction in air pollution, battery pollution and CO 2 emission are the key motivators for a mass adoption of EVs (Biresselioglu et al., 2018). Delang and Cheng (2013) studied both environmental factors and financial factors, jointly, and found that even people who were familiar with the need for investing in environmentally sustainable technology preferred not to buy EVs because of their high purchasing price. Similarly, after-sales service, promotion or advertisement, buying channels and brand impact were also relevant factor that influence the EVs market (Wang et al., 2018b;Oliver and Rosen, 2010). ...
Article
The deployment of electric vehicles (EVs) may mitigate major issues such as environmental pollution and dependence on oil. However, the current market penetration of EV is still at the nascent stage despite many governments employing dynamic advertising policies. This paper empirically investigates the factors influencing a consumer's intention to adopt an EV. A total of 211 peer-reviewed research articles published between 2009 and 2019 covering the main categories consumer intentions-adoption intention, purchase intention, behavioural intention, and usage intention,-were selected. This study categorises influential factors, into four main types, namely demographic, situational, contextual, and psychological. A comprehensive overview of the theoretical perspectives was also developed to understand adoption behaviour and a con-sumer's intentions towards EVs. The findings provide the most common research methodology employed for testing, analysing and comparing the relations among EV factors. A simple meta-analysis shows that the trend of studies on the influencing factors for adopting EVs has increased significantly over the past decade. Finally, this review study has managerial implications and shows future directions for EV researchers and practitioners that may help governments and the automobile industry to increase the usage share of EVs.
... The literature identifies the following vehicle attributes as those that have the most influential impact on EVs usage intention (UI): vehicle purchase price, driving range, government incentives, and resale value. The purchase price (PP) of EVs is found to have a strong influential effect on the consumers' UI (Delang & Cheng, 2013;Lane & Potter, 2007). The previous studies revealed that the EV purchase price compared to a CV in similar segment is critically important. ...
Article
Purpose-Due to the deteriorating environment and strict emission laws in India, now the preference is being given to electric vehicles (EVs) over conventional vehicles, in which fully electric vehicles are at the priority. The purpose of this study was to determine the factors influencing EVs usage intentions in India. Design/methodology/approach-The methodological approach used survey data that included psychological, contextual, and demographic factors to ascertain the motivators and barriers affecting EVs usage intention. An empirical study based on a survey questionnaire was distributed to more than 2000 respondents by judgment sampling in Delhi-NCR out of which 516 responses were selected for analysis. Findings-The findings concluded that, environmental concerns, perceived behaviour control, subjective norms, govt. policy incentives, and perceived risk were positively related to EVs usage intention whereas initial purchase price, driving range, and resale value were negatively related to EVs usage intention. However, consumer lifestyle revealed a negligible effect on EVs usage intention. Originality/value-This study contributes by validating the variables of the theory of planned behaviour with extension along with the improved understanding of the role of consumer demographic factors in determining their EVs usage intention.
Article
India is exceptionally backward in public acceptance and diffusion of electric vehicles. Therefore, considering the perspective of the Indian people, policymakers, automakers, and marketers, the primary aim of this study was to develop an effective model comprising selective influencing variables that were relevant in the Indian context and capable of revealing the true intention of Indian people to use electric vehicles (EVs). The structural equation modeling was applied to validate the proposed model. Consistently significant results derived from the three separate studies confirmed that the intention to use electric vehicles in India could be explained as being most significantly related to purchase price, perceived behaviour control, personal norms, environmental concerns, sustainable behaviour, driving range, household income, respectively, among all significant influencing factors. The findings covered the literature gaps by confirming the consistently and comparatively strong partial mediating effect of environmental concerns on the relationship between sustainable behaviour and EVs usage intention, personal norms and EVs usage intention, and the mediating effect of the purchase price on the relationship between the driving range and EVs usage intention. The findings also confirmed a moderating effect of age on the relationship between perceived behaviour control and EVs usage intention. The study propounds some important implications for policymakers, automakers, marketers, and other stakeholders, reflecting on the development of strategies for wide-scale acceptance of EVs in India in the coming years.
Article
Full-text available
Electric cars are relatively in the early stage of acceptance in Malaysia, the purpose of the current research was to determine the factors affecting the adoption of battery electric vehicles in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This research utilized a quantitative method to gather and analyze the data and proposed a novel theoretical framework to explain the acceptance of battery electric vehicles. 500 surveys were distributed and 322 were gathered. Respondents of the study were University lecturers, postgraduate students, and employees in private companies. The results of SEM analysis indicated that the developed model provides a good fit for constructs used for this research. The result showed that social influence, facilitating conditions, environmental concern, and perceived enjoyment have positive effects on the adoption of BEVs. However, respondents indicated anxiety about the battery range. In conclusion, this study has contributed additional variables such as range anxiety and driving experience to the electric vehicle's acceptance literature. The findings are significant to electric car producers and policy makers who have environmental concerns to understand consumer prospective in this field.
Thesis
Full-text available
Abstract The primary objective of this study is to explore the impact of consumer buying motives towards the alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs’) in Sri Lanka developing a new model to create new promotional strategies among all the stakeholders. Having examined the research gap pertaining to the above context, concerning on theoretical, literature and practice gap, the problem statement was developed for the study. On par with the main focusing area, the researcher established other factors to the model in order to widen the scope of the study to an advanced perspective. Customer’s Perceived Value (CPV) and Consumer Innovativeness (CI) were introduced as a mediator and the moderator as per deep literature. Consequently, in addition to sound empirical support, a sound theoretical framework was included combining all the constructs. The ontological stance is Respresentationalism while the epistemological stance is positivism choosing the deductive approach, quantitative research strategy. The pre-survey was performed to ensure the content validity while 67 responses were collected through a pilot survey to ensure the reliability and validity measures. The multilevel mixed method sampling technique was adopted to collect the data since the population is large and sample framework is not available. The self-administered questionnaires were electronically collected from 388 AFV’s owners covering all 25 districts in Sri Lanka. According to the nature of the study, the PLS-SEM technique was adopted to analyze the data. According to the findings, the UM has strongest impact on purchasing intention followed by HM and EM respectively. Further, the findings showed that CPV partially mediates relationships among HM->PI, and UM->PI while not mediating the EM ->PI. Further, it was shown that CI doesn’t significantly moderate the CBM’s ->PI. Finally, the Impotent Performance Map Analysis (IMPA) was carried out to analyze the importance and performance of the constructs of CBMs’ towards PI and confirmed that UM & HM based CPV is the most influential factor on the PI of AFV’s context recommending all stakeholders to improve the UM and HM based actions accordingly. Further, findings show that the CPV is the antecedent of PI confirming the robustness of TRA/TPB. Keywords: Consumer Buying Motives (CMB), Consumer Innovativeness (CI), Customer perceived value(CPV), Environmental motives (EM), Hedonic motives(HM), Purchasing intention (PI), Utilitarian motives (UM)
Thesis
Full-text available
The sales of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs') in Sri Lanka have not been on par with other countries. Therefore, it was attempted to explore the most influential factors affecting the adoption of the purchasing intention of alternative fuel vehicles in Sri Laka considering the customer's perceived value as a mediating variable and consumer innovativeness as the moderating variable.
Article
Full-text available
This paper addresses the question of whether the Hong Kong government made a rational economic decision when it decided to set aside land to develop a Wetland Park, or whether it should have used the land for alternative commercial developments. Different analytical methods are used to estimate the economic value of the environmental benefi ts of the Wetland Park: the Value Transfer Method is used to estimate the economic value of the ecological services provided by the Park, the Direct Market Price analysis for the economic value of the goods purchased in the Wetland Park, the Hedonic Housing Price Analysis for the value of the Park to those residing in its proximity, the Travel Cost and Contingent Valuation Method for the value of the Park to the visitors, and the Con- tingent Valuation for the Passive (Nonuse) Values of the Park. These benefi ts are compared to the opportunity cost of the land and the cost of running the Wetland Park. The article concludes that if a rate of 5% or less is used to discount future costs and benefi ts, we would fi nd that the government's decision to set aside land for a Wetland Park was economically sound, while using a discount rate of 6% or more shows that it was not.
Article
Full-text available
This research assesses preferences for clean-fuel vehicles (CFVs) versus the conventional vehicle using a discrete choice experiment. The results show that although consumers value environmental impact, vehicle performance characteristics are critical to choice. It is found that regulation is not sufficient to create a market for CFVs. The research identified three market segments to which CFVs should be distinctly positioned and targeted.
Conference Paper
The purpose of this paper is to investigate the performance of 100 A-h lithium polymer batteries to determine their suitability for use in battery powered electric vehicles (BPEVs). The performance includes: battery cell capacity evaluation, battery efficiency, temperature effects on the performance of the batteries, self discharge, fast chargeability, and realistic load test. These are important factors that determine this batterypsilas suitability for BPEVs. The characteristics are conducted at four different temperatures to study the effect of seasonal changes in temperature. The tests show that the lithium batteries performed well during the evaluation at 0, +20, and +40 Degree Celsius (degC). Also it shows that the batteries can be fast charged. The battery voltage and temperature stayed with the limits during the realistic load test. More over the batteries exhibited very high energy efficiency and low self discharge rate.
Article
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are hybrid electric vehicles that can draw and store energy from an electric grid to supply propulsive energy for the vehicle. This simple functional change to the conventional hybrid electric vehicle allows a plug-in hybrid to displace petroleum energy with multi-source electrical energy. This has important and generally beneficial impacts on transportation energy sector petroleum consumption, criteria emissions output, and carbon dioxide emissions, as well as on the performance and makeup of the electrical grid. PHEVs are seen as one of the most promising means to improve the near-term sustainability of the transportation and stationary energy sectors. This review presents the basic design considerations for PHEVs including vehicle architecture, energy management systems, drivetrain component function, energy storage tradeoffs and grid connections. The general design characteristics of PHEVs are derived from a summary of recent PHEV design studies and vehicle demonstrations. The sustainability impact of PHEVs is assessed from a review of recent studies and current research and development needs for PHEVs are proposed.
Article
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is a highly developed modern city where technical and economic advances have made it possible to support 7 million people on 120 km2 of built-up land, resulting in 58 000 people per km2, one of the highest population densities in the world. This population depends on a continual supply of materials, energy and information to function, and these resources are mainly supplied from outside Hong Kong's own geographical boundaries. The ecological footprint (EF) of Hong Kong due to its direct and indirect consumption of renewable resources and waste generation is presented. Additionally, the paper traces the spatial patterns of Hong Kong's EF and examines the implications of this ecosystem appropriation. The study finds an EF for Hong Kong of about 6 ha per capita, with the largest appropriation occurring for marine ecosystems. If the impacts of fish farming are included, Hong Kong appropriates a marine area nearly 2000 times its own built-up city area. Current resource consumption and waste generation patterns in Guangdong, China — where much of Hong Kong's terrestrial ecosystem appropriation occurs — are also discussed.
Article
Regulators, policy analysts, automobile manufacturers, environmental groups, and others are debating the merits of policies regarding the development and use of battery-powered electric vehicles (BPEVs). At the crux of this debate is lifecycle cost: the annualized initial vehicle cost, plus annual operating and maintenance costs, plus battery replacement costs. To address this issue of cost, we have developed a detailed model of the performance, energy use, manufacturing cost, retail cost, and lifecycle cost of electric vehicles and comparable gasoline internal-combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs). This effort is an improvement over most previous studies of electric vehicle costs because instead of assuming important parameter values for such variables as vehicle efficiency and battery cost, we model these values in detail. We find that in order for electric vehicles to be cost-competitive with gasoline ICEVs, batteries must have a lower manufacturing cost, and a longer life, than the best lithium-ion and nickel–metal hydride batteries we modeled. We believe that it is most important to reduce the battery manufacturing cost to $100/kWh or less, attain a cycle life of 1200 or more and a calendar life of 12 years or more, and aim for a specific energy of around 100 Wh/kg.
Article
The study addresses the issue of technological “lock-in” and the possibilities of escape from it. Earlier literature on technological lock-in has tended to focus on intraindustry sources of positive feedbacks that are at the core of the technological lock-in phenomena. This study draws attention to the importance of interindustry sources in contributing to technological lock-in. Several possible avenues of escape from lock-in are discussed: crisis in existing technology, regulation, technological breakthroughs, changes in taste, emergence of niche markets, and new scientific results. The study includes a brief history of the competition among automobile technologies. The analysis of the current state of the electric vehicle, its technology, and the surrounding supporting industries and infrastructures is relatively pessimistic about a rapid transition away from the internal combustion engine technological lock-in. However, regulation could create enough niche markets so that some self-reinforcing processes would become possible. In this way, the electric vehicle might emerge as a visible part of the automobile market.
Article
The article describes and presents a critical analysis of the long history of alternative fuels and propulsion technologies, particularly in automobile applications. Cases are electric and hybrid cars. The term “critical analysis” refers to the analysis of the various alternative technologies in relation to their societal contexts. In particular, these are the varying contexts of energy security, energy policy, environmental problems, sustainability, and also the later more explicit climate change context. This approach gives some knowledge with relevance to the current discussions on implementation issues. The work is first of all founded on the knowledge field of “Social Studies of Technological Systems”.