HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s first battery-powered public bus took to the streets Monday as part of a drive against the city’s choking pollution.
Chief executive Leung Chun-ying has pledged to make pollution one of his top priorities during his five-year term, with an official report saying it was the “greatest daily health risk” to the city’s residents.
But at least one local environmental group was skeptical about the government’s anti-pollution commitment, saying “one bus wouldn’t make any difference” and that Hong Kong was lagging behind other global cities when it came to electric vehicles.
The new single decker bus revealed on Monday was manufactured by Chinese automaker BYD and is powered by lithium iron phosphate batteries that take three hours to charge and give the vehicle a range of about 180 kilometers (110 miles).
The same company produced the southern Chinese city’s first electric taxis, which were launched in May.
Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-shing said the government was investing HK$180 million ($23 million) in the pilot scheme, helping to subsidize the purchase of 36 electric buses by the end of next year that will be run by private companies.
“The long term goal is towards zero emissions along the roadside,” he told a press conference, without giving a timeframe for the possible expansion of the pilot scheme.