Electric Vehicle Charging in Hong Kong
Where can I charge my EV (Electric Vehicle) in Hong Kong? How reliable is the battery of an electric car? How do I charge my EV at home and what are the costs? Charging an electric car is one of the most important topics that often raises a lot of different questions for potential EV owners. That is why we would like to give you an overview of all the things you need to know about charging your EV in Hong Kong.
I. Available Charging Technology And Standards
Charging facilities for electric cars are provided at different charging points in HK. They are usually located in car parks or at locations especially designed for recharging an EV (Electric Vehicle). Every charging point offers a set of charging equipment, which is also called “EVSE – Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment”. This specific equipment contains everything you need to connect your vehicle. All the equipment will be in line with one of the different international Standards (e.g. IEC 61851 or UL2594). This equipment also provides controllers and protection devices that are able to communicate with the electric car and at the same time make sure that the charging process is as safe as possible.
The available charging equipment (EVSE) nowadays may differ based on the electricity type they use and based on the required time to charge your car. Generally in Hong Kong, they can be divided into three classes:
- Standard Charging
- Semi-Quick Charging
- DC – Quick Charging
Below we have provided a general and quick overview for the different sets of charging possibilities:
II. Battery Of An Electric Car
EV Battery Life
In particular with used electric cars, many people have concerns about the battery. How long will the battery last? Does my car have any warranty on the battery itself? Do I have to worry about the remaining capacity if I buy a used electric car?
The answers to those questions can vary from model to model. Though every future EV owner should be aware of the fact that the battery of an electric car, like other lithium-ion batteries, will experience gradual energy or power loss with time and use.
Without a doubt the battery is a core element of an EV. Over the last years, battery technology itself developed rapidly and will make further notable progress in the future. Since competitive electric car models have not been on the market for a very long period of time, there are no real long term experiences thus far. It is crucial to note that there will be differences from car to car even for the same model depending on the different usage patterns of the owner.
EV Battery Warranty
Knowing that good, long-term quality and reliability for batteries is key for an electric vehicle customer, almost every carmaker has very good warranty programs for the battery of its EV. Most of them provide coverage over a long period of time or high mileage rate. Even if you are the second, third or even tenth owner, you have a certain level of guarantee, as if you would have bought the car straight from the factory.
Tesla for example, has a warranty for its batteries for a time period of 8 years and for the 85kWh Model S it offers unlimited miles. This is a great deal since Tesla says it “will repair the unit, or replace it with a factory reconditioned unit which has an energy capacity at least equal to that of the original battery before.” (Source: Tesla Model S vehicle warranty). This is a luxury service compared to what most carmakers offer on components of their gasoline powertrains. Before you buy an Electric Car make sure that the manufacturer offers a good package for warranty on the battery.
EV Battery Research
Most of the studies that have been conducted so far look at one to two year old cars with a range mostly under 100.000 miles. Therefore, you will not find a reliable long-term prognosis (5-10 years) just yet. Nevertheless existing data shows a trend that battery life exceeds expectations. Studies show that “EV batteries continue to meet daily travel needs of drivers well beyond capacity fade of 80% remaining energy storage capacity. Further, it shows that EV batteries with substantial energy capacity fade continue to provide sufficient buffer charge for unexpected trips with long distances.” Source: Journal of Power Sources 282 (2015) 265_276
For those who want to dive deeper into research of long-term reliability of an EV and its battery, we picked out some interesting scientific papers, studies and articles:
Boston Consulting Group – Batteries for Electric Cars
Journal of Power Sources – Quantifying EV battery end-of-life
Springer – Electric Vehicle Battery Technologies
Lifecycle Analysis Comparison of a Battery Electric Vehicle and a Conventional Gasoline Vehicle
III. Where To Charge Your EV In Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of the cities with the highest density of charging stations in the world. Two of the most frequently asked questions for people that consider buying an electric car in Hong Kong is “Where can I charge my EV in HK?” and “Are there enough charging points in HK?” There are now more than 1300 charging points for electric cars in Hong Kong, and the network will only grow further in the next couple of month as demand is getting bigger and bigger. As described in the previous chapter different electric car models may use different standards for Semi-Quick and DC Quick charging points. The following table shows a quick overview of the number of charging opportunities around Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories as of February 2016:
The Environmental Protection Department provides a very detailed list of available charging locations for public access in each and every district in Hong Kong, grouped by the different standards:
There are several free maps available online which can provide an overview of where to charge. Though, none of these maps show a complete picture of the whole charging network due to a high number of different providers and brands. However this is not a big issue since most of the car companies which sell EV`s will also provide their customer a possibility to look for suitable charging points for their specific model in Hong Kong.
Public charging opportunities are a great advantage to have but like Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk said, you should be able to charge your electric car in the same places that you charge your mobile phone – at home and at work. This leads us to our next important question for someone who owns an electric car in Hong Kong – How can I charge my EV at home?
IV. Charging Your EV At Home Or In Your Car Park
A lot of people who have never owned an electric car in Hong Kong before are afraid of the hassle of setting up their own charging facility. It takes some time to organize everything in the beginning but be assured it is definitely worth the extra effort. It is a lot easier than most people imagine and especially in Hong Kong there are several institutions that can help you at any stage of the process. Just think about how convenient it is to come home and to plug in your car. Never again having to take last minute trips to any old, smelly gas stations. Never again even thinking about when you need to refill your car. To make the process of installation easier for you, in the following section we provide a quick checklist on who you should consult to start the process of setting up a charger at your home or in your car park:
EV charging facilities in Hong Kong usually require fixed electrical installations such as cabling, switchboards, conduits, distribution boards, electricity meter, trunking and socket outlets. The process of setting up a charging facility in your own car park usually involves the consent of property owners, property management companies and car park operators. The installation needs to be done by a registered electrical contractor and registered electrical worker of the appropriate grade. They are responsible to design, install, test and certify your electric car charging facility in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Electricity Ordinance (Cap. 406) and its regulations.
In Hong Kong, the Department of Electrical and Mechanical Services provides an EV Service Hotline and E-mail address exclusively for electric car owners. Here you have the opportunity to seek further information and technical support for setting up your electric car charger at home or in your car park.
Furthermore the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department issued a summary and detailed technical guidelines on charging facilities for electric vehicles at car parks:
V. Cost Of Charging Your EV in Hong Kong
The cost of charging your electric car in Hong Kong can be very different depending on where you charge and if you want to invest in your own charging equipment at home or in your car park. For now, there is quite a big number of public charging stations in Hong Kong that offer their services for free to their customers, in order to help accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in the city.
The big advantage for electric car owners is that even if you have to pay for the electricity you use, charging your EV in Hong Kong will always be cheaper than filling up your tank with gasoline. Of course, there are a lot of different factors which influence a cars energy consumption, so there is no exact number you can compare with. Although, for a better understanding of how much it actually is to fully charge an electric car you can make this very rough and high level estimation (different assumptions about electricity cost and battery packs may have different results):
- Average electricity cost in HK = 120 Cents/kWh
- 85 kWh battery pack (range 265 miles)
- 120 cents*85kWh = 10200 cents = 102 HKD
So in our case, it costs about 100 HKD to fully charge your EV. Even if the range of an electric car might be smaller than one from a gasoline car. In the end, the overall cost for the same range will still be lower. If you think about having your private EVSE installed in HK, electricity cost is not the only factor to consider. Don’t forget the cost of charging equipment itself and also the cost of installation and maintenance. Depending on the charging method, the prices for equipment and installation vary as well. The following table serves to give you a rough estimate and better understanding of pricing: