The only electric truck in the city won’t be seen in public

The only electric truck ever trialled through the government’s New Energy Transport Fund (NETF) scheme is not used on public roads over concern of battery life and coping with hills when loaded, according to trial reports just published.

Regal Transportation (Asia) bought the BYD QR1 truck in April 2020, with a 50% subsidy from the government under the NETF (then called the Pilot Green Transport Fund), making it the first electric truck financed under the subsidy scheme in its nine-year history.

However, the firm reported poor availability, due to the short range and long charging times. The truck was out of action for 22.3 days over the first six months of the trial, against six days for its Scania diesel equivalent. Drivers said that they “would not operate the EV on the public roads especially going uphill with cargo due to the limitation of the battery capacity,” according to the report.

In general, however, Regal says it’s satisfied enough with the performance of the truck, which is only used to shuttle containers around the Modern Terminals in Kwai Tsing, Hong Kong’s second-largest container port. The EV operating costs have proved significantly lower, at HK$2.92/km against HK$13.97/km for the diesel.

The BYD QR1 is the only electric haulage truck approved in Hong Kong.

While the NETF aims to promote electric commercial vehicles, electric cars continue to dominate the EV scene in Hong Kong, with around 2,900 private electric cars registered in the first nine months of 2020, against just 102 electric vans registered under the subsidy scheme in nine years.

As such, there’s now 12,650 electric cars in Hong Kong, a figure expected to rise with the government’s HK$2 billion EV parking space subsidy scheme for private cars, extension of tax concessions for private car EV buyers until 2024 and the extension of the “one-for-one” replacement scheme that could see older EVs and fossil-fuelled cars scrapped in exchange for new EVs.

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