A trial run has begun for electric buses in Hong Kong, a small but important step towards making the city’s roadways pollutant free.
Hong Kong has taken steps towards reducing their pollution with the introduction of a battery-powered public bus.The bus took to the streets this morning, with chief executive Leung Chun-ying commenting that pollution is a serious concern for the city and is the “greatest daily health risk” for its citizens. At least one environmental group however, was less than impressed, stating that more than one battery powered bus would need to be made in order to see any kind of real difference, and that Hong Kong is otherwise behind many other cities in terms of pollution.
The bus however, which is built by Chinese manufacturer BYD, is quite impressive: It’s powered by lithium iron phosphate batteries which take about three hours to charge and gives the bus a range of 180 km. BYD is also responsible for building the city’s first electric taxis, which were brought into service in May of this year. Hong Kong’s Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-shing says the electric vehicles are part of a HKD 180 million investment (USD23 million) by the government with “The long term goal [of] zero emissions along the roadside,”
One bus won’t make a difference, but more may come soon.
The largest company involved in the electric bus trial, Kowloon Motor Bus, has stated that it will take time and money to replace all of its 3800 buses with electric variants. Extensive studies need to be done on the new electric buses and customer feedback needs to be gathered. There’s also the issue that each new bus costs roughly HKD 5 million (USD 644,000) .