HK$330 million to fund greener vehicles

Updated: 2011-10-13 09:56

By Kahon Chan(HK Edition)

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The government will fund trial runs of electric buses and maintenance of commercial vehicles to curb air pollution from its source, but concern groups are not impressed by the lack of details on air quality objectives and new ideas for conservation.

The government will spend HK$180 million to acquire 36 single-decker electric buses for the four franchise bus companies, which will run them on a number of passenger routes, in order to assess their performance on different conditions.

According to a government source, Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB) would get eight "super-capacitor" buses that would recharge at each passenger stop, while the 28 other conventional battery buses would be shared by all four franchise bus operators. The source said as all sides were in favor of greener buses, it was worthwhile to "facilitate" the effort by taxpayers' money.

The decision was welcomed by KMB which made similar proposals in December last year. A spokeswoman for the company said KMB would bear the expenses of research and operation in the trials, and an earlier road test of a loaned "super-capacitor" bus was deemed satisfactory.

For operators of the city's 18,000 taxis and 3,000 minibuses, a carrot-and-stick approach was adopted. The government will subsidize a one-time replacement of catalytic converters on these vehicles throughout 2012 with HK$150 million, as aging converters often emit high levels of mono-nitrogen oxides.

New emission sensors would thereafter be deployed on roadsides, and vehicles will be required to comply with certain emission standards to be detailed later. The government source stressed it is the duty of car owners to maintain their vehicles, and the one-time subsidy is only provided as a transition into the new roadside inspections.

China Daily

(HK Edition 10/13/2011 page1)