The C-40 Climate Leadership workshop took place in Hong Kong last week-Thirty cities attended and shared their knowledge on how to build cities with greener transportation systems. There are now 80 electric vehicles (EV) in Hong Kong, as of Sept 2010, most of which are passenger cars, and 160 charging points. The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) in Hong Kong says the city is actively promoting the use of EVs, but during the C-40 meeting, some cities shared their experiences, showing the kind of real commitment it takes to build a city with E-mobility. Starting from 18 June 2010, businesses have been able to benefit from a Profits Tax Deduction for Capital Expenditure on environment-friendly vehicles. In addition, Vivian Lau, deputy secretary for EPD said during last week’s meeting, the government will promote EV infrastructure by providing incentives for installing EV charging stations in, for example, car parks in multi-storey buildings by giving exemptions of gross floor area (i.e. if the property owner promises to allocate more car park space for EVs, they will be given more floor area). However, in comparison to other cities, Hong Kong is not doing enough to promote EV use: In Europe – London; The city did a survey and learned that 90% of car journeys are only 5-10 miles long, easily within the range of most EVs. Thus, the city is keen to promote EV use. They found that possible EV owners have a travel range of 10-50 miles per day, own more than one car, and are usually existing hybrid car owners. A program called Source London will be launched in spring 2011; it ambitiously aims to deliver 1,300 public charging points across London by 2013. London city is currently working with supermarkets to build up a huge network of charging stations. 1. The ultimate goal is for every Londoner to be within one mile of a charging port. 2. This program is cheap: owners can pay approximately £100 for membership and charge their EVs in any station for a year! 3. EV drivers are exempted from the congestion charge, which is up to £10 per day! http://www.sourcelondon.net/ The city of Copenhagen is providing big incentives for their EV program as well. For instance: 1. Up to 500 public parking spaces reserved exclusively for EVs. 2. No parking fee for EV drivers. 3. Licenses granted to private EV charging station operators for a period of ten years. 4. All private passenger cars are required to pay a tax up to 180% of the vehicle value, and this fee is completely waived for those who purchase an EV- In the US – Portland In 2009, the City adopted a Climate Action Plan committing itself to deliver a transportation system that supports the goal of reducing local greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically relevant to EVs, the Climate Action Plan establishes several goals and proposes actions to achieve goals aimed at reducing the carbon emissions from fossil fuels used to power vehicles. In order to achieve these goals, it is estimated that 13 percent of all non-commercial vehicle miles traveled on Portland’s roads in 2030 will need to be in EVs. This translates into as many as 50,000 EVs in the metro area, based on average per capita vehicle miles. The plan consists of: 1. Working with car-share companies and transit agencies to ensure affordable access to EV technology. 2. Providing tax incentives for residents and businesses, such as rebates of up to US$ 7,500 for purchase of an EV, and US$2,000 for drivers who require garage upgrades in order to install home chargers with higher voltage for a faster charging speed. http://www.chargeportland.com/ The C-40 climate meeting was an excellent opportunity for participating cities to exchange knowledge and concepts in order to create lower carbon cities. CAN hopes the Hong Kong government will learn from these leading examples- and promote EVs as a cleaner transportation option in our city.