Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Environment: Letter to (then) Financial Secretary John Tsang on 29th Dec 2016

Dear Financial Secretary,
 
Through years of hard work by the EPD, Hong Kong is finally seeing signs of improvement in our city’s overall air quality. According to the Hedley Environmental Index, loss of tangible cost and loss of healthy life values seem to have shown gradual improvement since 2015. Despite the downtrend in the number of premature deaths, hospital bed-days, doctor visits and air pollutants, Hong Kong is absolutely capable of performing even better in all aspects related to improving air quality, healthy quality as well as combating climate change. Effort should not be cut after seeing initial positive results, instead it should be doubled.
 
Inline image


 
Inline image



 
Based on emission blueprint described by the environment secretary Wong Kam-sing to SCMP ahead of COP21, “By "around 2020", Hong Kong will be on track to reduce its carbon intensity - emissions per unit of GDP - by 50 to 60 per cent and energy intensity by up to 40 per cent. By that year, it will have already met its 2010 target of reducing total emissions by 19 to 33 per cent from 2005 level,” but Greenpeace has called for an even more aggressive schemes to cut emission.

European countries and cities are moving away from fossil-fuel cars due to roadside emissions. For example, Germany has passed a resolution to ban fossil fuel vehicles by 2030.



 
Therefore, I have the following suggestions for your consideration for the coming budget and future budgets to come:
 
1.           Consider following the above European countries by announcing a total ban for ICEVs in Hong Kong, hopefully before Singapore does.
2.           Extend the FRT waiver for Pure EVs for at least another 3 years till 2020, and preferably for 3 more years till 2023 in anticipation of mass-produced low-cost EVs. Based on my very rough estimate, the FRT waived per new EV purchased is about 1% of the total economic loss due to air pollution per day. Hong Kong is the ‘Beacon City for electric vehicles’ and this is as much a Hong Kong pride as well as our country’s pride. Denmark’s unfortunate end in their EV development is a lesson for any countries or cities to learn.
3.           ‘Fund’ FRT waiver for EVs in the future, especially with total ICEV ban in mind, the Government should consider increasing FRT and license renewal fee for ICEVs and hybrids – eg. Singapore’s tax for general car ownership is at least 3 times that of Hong Kong. This way, Hong Kong can see a lowering of the ICEVs population (currently at 99.25%) and an increasing percentage of EV ownership (currently at 0.75%). The total number of vehicles on the road
4.           Consider offering toll-free tunnels and roads for EVs like Norway while increasing such toll fees for ICEVs as an additional incentive for ICEV owners to switch to owning EVs. Such incentive can be facilitated using existing Autotoll technology plus the submission of a copy of an electric vehicle registration document.
5.           Incentivise power companies to invest in renewable energies, particularly tidal energy. Adding less carbon-intensive natural gas to the fuel mix is good, but as good as Singapore of which natural gas constituted about 95% of fuel mix in 2015they are adding solar (45.8MWac) into their grid.
6.           Make private installation of solar and wind power generating facilities at private homes easier and less susceptible to (Building Department) accusations for changing the external appearance of the building’s structure.
 
I thank the Government for decades of continuous support for cleaning up the city’s serious air pollution and making our beloved Hong Kong into a ‘beacon city for electric vehicles’. Hong Kong has lost too many Number 1s through the years and hopefully we can still retain this one to make our country proud!
 
Sincerely,
Locky Law
Hong Kong Permanent Resident

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Food & Environment: Food Donation and Electronics Recycling for the Holidays!

Salvation Army
Image from Salvation Army

Happy New Year to you all! Haven't been away from the blog but simply more active on the blog's Facebook page, do "like" the page and get more updates.

After an enjoyable festive period, some of you must have received quite an amount of snacks, cookies or even electronic devices? Congratulations! You deserve them! But do you know how you can deserve them even more? You may consider donating them!

Food Angel
Image from Food Angel

For those of you in Hong Kong, Food Wise HK provides a good list of organisations which will accept various food such as rice, can food and bread. Some NGOs such as Food Angel and St. James Settlement will need a bit more initiative from the food donor and take the food to their kitchens by yourself, so if you are a car owner, especially an EV owner, this is not a problem!

St. James Settlement
Image from St. James Settlement

Donation Map
Image from Friends of the Earth

Friends of the Earth has an excellent donation map which tags all the NGOs which accepts various types of donations, so it is easy to find one that is nearest to you!

Hong Kong Waste Reduction Website
Image from Environmental Protection Department

If you have got new electronic devices such as smartphones, laptops and PCs for Christmas and the old ones are to be thrown away, DON'T! You can donate them even if they aren't working very well! The Hong Kong Waste Reduction Website by the Environmental Protection Department has a list of collection points where you can donate your old mouse, old keyboard or old workstations. If you run a company and you want to do a mass e-device upgrade, you may even call their hotline and they will send trucks to come for pick-up.


Recently, I have been involved in one of the food donation charity event organised by Hong Kong Jockey Club, Tesla and Social Career. It was indeed a great experience driving fellow volunteers to various places for unsold bread pickup and delivering them to those in need. It means even more to me because I am involved in coming up with the name Powering Sustainability for the charity initiative. I have been very active in household recycling, E-waste and clothes donation run by the Salvation Army in the past, so much that I only have a small closet and a drawer of clothes for myself., but after this bread donation event and knowing that the bread would help NGOs to make Hong Kong a better place, it makes me wonder why I have not done more in terms of food donation in the past.

Powering Sustainability
Image from Locky's English Playground
I have 8kg of rice at home, I will start with that.

Rice is most needed in terms of food donation
Image from Locky's English Playground
Update 1:

Update 2:

Suddenly I see this video in Cantonese and it is exactly what I am trying to talk about in this blog post today


Resources:

Locky's English Playground Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/LockysEnglishPlayground/

Food Wise
http://www.foodwisehk.gov.hk/en/channels-for-food-donation.php

Food Angel
http://www.foodangel.org.hk/en/support.php#/donate_food

St. James Settlement
http://foodbank.sjs.org.hk/page.action?id=79

Friends of the Earth
http://foodwaste.foe.org.hk/html/eng/map.php

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (Including computers) | Waste Reduction Website
https://www.wastereduction.gov.hk/en/waste-electrical-and-electronic-equipment.html

Charged Hong Kong Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/chargedhongkong/posts/564279543777730

Salvation Army
http://www.salvationarmy.org.hk/en/services/donate

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Charged Hong Kong Members' Stories #011 --Ms. Lydia Lee & Mr. Andrew Crampton

Lydia and Andrew's EV fleet and their charger
Photo by Andrew and Lydia

Locky Law (LL): It’s been awhile since our last Charged Hong Kong Members’ Story. Luckily, we have just the right Christmas gift for you all! In Hong Kong, most family own one EV, this family owns two, what’s rare about it is they own a Tesla Model S and a VolksWagen e-Golf, both very new! Two EVs which are very different in terms of aesthetics and size. Let’s welcome Andrew and Lydia, who will share their exciting 'Tale of Two EVs' with us today. Thank you for your time Andrew and Lydia.


Andrew Crampton (AC): Thanks Locky.

Lydia Lee (Lydia): Thank you, Locky.

LL: Lydia and Andrew, could you tell us something about yourselves first?

AC: I’m originally from Australia. But have lived in HK since the mid 90s. I used to work for a private equity group doing their due diligence. I've been "retired" quite a few years already.
Lydia: I grew up in HK, left for the UK to study, started working at 16 and lived there for 12 years.  A Civil engineer by profession and I am not fortunate enough like Andrew who has retired some years ago. Andrew is like a monk, doesn't smoke, doesn’t drink and he became a vegetarian since 12. We don't have kids and not planning to have any.

AC: We like to travel over breeding.

LL: Haha, okay. My first question is, why EVs in Hong Kong?

AC: Being an asthmatic, the air quality is important to me. I've hiked quite a bit in HK, Taiwan and Europe, so I see first hand the difference in air quality. Having an EV over and ICE is logical choice, especially in HK where commutes are shorter than most big cities. It is no fun to breathe through an exhaust pipe. Lydia drives a lot of compared to average drivers in HK, so it's also an economic choice. EVs are much cheaper to run than ICE vehicles. Plus, she builds roads and tunnels we drive on!

LL: Does that have anything to do with your choice of owning an EV in HK?

Lydia: My past projects are mostly drainage tunnels and now road tunnels. The Central Wanchai Bypass tunnel would be the first tunnel in HK have an Air Purification System (APS) installed. So the air inside the tunnel would be treated before going into the atmosphere. I visited one of the major city tunnels in Madrid, who has an APS installed and the operator told us, since the vehicles have been changing to better fuel and better exhausts emissions, the usage of that APS is a lot less. It proves how much ICE vehicles are polluting the atmosphere. So for me to show others that EVs is a way forward, not building APS is the least I can do. An APS is to solve a problem but not fix the cause of the problem. To use an EV is to fixes the problem at the source.

LL: Why the Tesla Model S?

Lydia: I owned my car since 18, had quite a variety of cars since but all ICE cars and learned about Tesla from my Canadian Chinese friend Ed who owns a Roadster since 2012.  I just really would like to own and drives a legend ever since. Therefore, once I can afford one, I change to Model S without second thought. Another major Tesla would be to support a visionary who developed the technology and made EV possible for masses.

LL: So, getting Tesla Model S was Lydia's call?

Lydia: Yes. Model S is mine. Andrew prefers smaller cars.

AC: Actually I delayed her model S purchase for about 12 months.

LL: How so?

AC: I wanted to wait until the technology had matured a little more. Also the build quality has improved over that time for the model S.

Photo from vw.com.hk

LL: Is that why you got a VW e-Golf after the Model S? AC: My Smart was getting old and tired. I was always wanting an EV, but I preferred a smaller car compared to the Model S. I was comparing all of the small EVs available in HK at the moment, and came close to getting a Renault Zoe, but by chance I found a near new e-Golf for a good price so choose that. The ride and comfort of the e-Golf is great. But of course it does not the range of a Model S. LL: How do you normally charge your EVs? AC: Our cars are parked outside always, so we installed a charging point next to our parking spaces by running a 120 metre cable from our house to our car park, so we can charge at home when needed. The e-Golf can fully charge under 10-12 hours on just a 13A socket. LL: Nice. Here comes the more critical questions. First one is for our Hong Kong readers: Should the government extend EV FRT waiver? AC: The FRT tax waiver that EVs utilise at the moment is a very small percentage of the government revenues, and if the government is committed to reducing roadside pollution and improving air quality, then we need to make the transition to an all electric transport fleet. Here is a pollution map of the world. LL: But some say EV FRT waiver is subsidizing EV buyers with tax payer's money, what do you think? Lydia: The FRT waiver is not subsidizing anybody, everyone has the freedom to choose to support a good cause, and it is their choice not to support the good cause hence they have to pay the price via a tax, this is the way I see it. By buying an ICE vehicle, the roadside pollution it causes is not nearly justified by the FRT they have paid. The damage is already done and they still won't face the reality which is indeed really sad.



Xmas 2015, Zermatt in Switzerland
Photo by Lydia Lee


LL: Second one is for our international readers: How do you think Trump’s policies will affect the climate change?

Lydia: Skiing is my passion and seeing how the global warming affecting the glaciers is painful. I have skied for more than 30 years everywhere you can think of. The ski season is getting later each year. Take Europe as an example, the ski season would begin in early December. Nowadays it's hardly much snow in December on Alps. See this photo? Xmas 2015, Zermatt in Switzerland, no snow at all. Fortunately lots of ski resorts rely on snow making machine.

LL: Well, I prefer snow by mother nature. I have never ever seen snow before. And I really wonder if my kids ever will, this is very sad. I wish that everyone can watch documentaries like Racing Extinction and DiCaprio's Before The Flood and simply learn the truth. But we have some good news today, Elon being named to Trump's advisory role. What do you think, Andrew?

AC: “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” - Sun Tzu, The Art of War. Elon will have the president-elect’s ear now, so the groups (big oil) that have been attacking Elon/Tesla and EVs in general will have to think twice about doing this again from now on. I don’t see the new president wanting to curtail what Tesla is doing, they build stuff and employ lots of people in the US, and this is exactly the kind of business the new president wants (made in America).

LL: I really hope what you said is right. Fingers crossed! Last but not least, since we are talking about Elon. He mentioned that Hong Kong is the ‘beacon city’ for EVs, so surely he pays a lot of attention to the EV development of the city. When John Kang from Forbes asked me for another person he could interview the first day Tesla accepted walk-in reservation for Model 3, I immediately thought of Lydia because she was sending to our LINE group chat all these photos she took, showing long queues of people waiting outside various Tesla shops in Hong Kong. And soon enough, she was on that Forbes article. Actually you too Andrew but you were known as the ‘husband’. Now, allow me to quote the article a bit, “For some, like Lydia Lee, the fact that it doesn’t pollute the air is enough to buy the EV. “It’s not about the price tag,” said the civil engineer designing roads and drives a Model S. “I can’t wait to see the end of the fossil fuel era.” Lee spent her Thursday morning lining up at a Tesla store to reserve her Model 3, together with more than 100 people combined in all three Tesla stores in the city. “My husband asked me: ‘Why on earth would you go there to line up and pay a $1,000 deposit for a car without knowing what it even looks like?’ and I said it doesn’t matter what it looks like,” said Lee. “The price you pay for it is not for a car, but for your future and the next generation.” “But I’m so glad it looks so stylish.”” Coming to think of it now that you know what it looks like, what are your opinions of Model 3 and when do you expect to see your Model 3 in Hong Kong? The ‘husband’ first maybe?
Lydia and Andrew in a Forbes article
Image from Forbes
AC: Actually this is not true, the article quoted things out of context. I am all for supporting the use of clean technology, especially EVs, we have ordered 2 Tesla Model 3s. So if Lydia wasn’t lining up, it would have been me. I really hope that Tesla stays on schedule and we get to see the Model 3 in HK before the end of 2018. The Model 3 introduces new battery technology which will find its way into more EVs and home energy storage. Lydia: I am really excited and looking forward to see the Model 3 go into production as it will be Elon's goal to create an EV for the masses.  By doing so, more people can actually experienced the joy of driving a EV and how wonderful it is not to have ever buy gas again.  I really don't mind the wait as long as the result is achieved.  The result hopefully would be the extinction of ICE. LL: So, you will have 4 EVs by then? AC: We plan to sell our current EVs to make space available for the Model 3s, when they arrive. LL: I see. Well, that’s awesome! Thank you so much for your stories and time, it’s very nice chatting with both of you! AC: Thank you again Locky. Lydia: Bye bye! References:
Experience Golf in 4 versions. @Volkswagen Hong Kong http://www.vw.com.hk/en/models/golf_7/trimlevel_overview.s9_trimlevel_detail.suffix.html/golf~2Fe-golf.html#/tab=0559a90a51e1bb2bc498d0ac024d07d4
AirVisual - Earth https://airvisual.com/earth
Racing Extinction http://racingextinction.com/the-film/ Before the Flood - The science is clear, the future is not https://www.beforetheflood.com/ Donald Trump Adds Elon Musk, Travis Kalanick, and Indra Nooyi to His Team of Advisers http://fortune.com/2016/12/14/donald-trump-musk-kalanick-nooyi/
Model 3 Will Boost Tesla Cars To Be Mainstream In 'Beacon City For Electric Vehicles' @ Forbes http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkang/2016/04/02/model-3-to-boost-teslas-drive-to-be-mainstream-in-beacon-city-of-electric-vehicles/2/#5d0c55ff495d

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Auto & Environment: EV Numbers and Growth In Hong Kong As Of Aug 2016




Progress of EV in Hong Kong
Image from Locky's English Playground
The third quarter of EV progress in Hong Kong continues to show encouraging numbers after a drop in EV sales in April and May, which coincides with the post-announcement-pre-delivery of new Tesla Model S facelift version.

Progress of EV in Hong Kong till Aug 2016
Image from Locky's English Playground
Delivery has picked up once again in June at 204 when new Tesla Model S Facelift has begun delivery in Hong Kong and stayed strong in July at 297 and in August at 290 EVs. Although these numbers are not near the the highest of 511 in March 2016 and 504 in December 2015, these numbers are still higher than any of the months from January to September in 2015.

Percentage of EVs in all registered vehicles including EVs and all fossil fuel vehicles is 0.75%, which means for every 10000 cars, there will be 75 EVs, still a very small percentage.

Willingness to purchase EVs is good, as June, July and August 2016 shows roughly 1 in every 5 new cars is an EV.

Another interesting observation is that the total willingness to buy a vehicle has dropped from around 3000 new cars per month in Feb 2015 to around 2700 in December 2015 to around 1400 in July 2016. This downtrend seems to correlate to the uptake of EVs per new car bought.

Looking ahead at the provisional number of EVs in September 2016 in which another 531 (= 666 - 135 usual overestimates) EVs have possibly been sold, we are likely to be seeing another record-breaking EV delivery month!


Progress of EV in Hong Kong with numbers from Transport Department
Image from Locky's English Playground

Total monthly registered increase in EV since Tesla Model S Launch has a mean of 208.9 and a standard deviation of 131.527.

The "curve" of growth remains pretty much a straight, inclined line since Tesla Model S Launch in Hong Kong in July 2014. As an EV-lover, the more upward curve the merrier.

Analysis of Tesla Model S in Hong Kong
Image from Locky's English Playground

My analysis has been slightly updated with clearer headings and numbering. Optimistic calculation remains on the left and pessimistic on the right. 2015 is still the core of my estimate for Tesla's sales performance in 2014 and 2016, with the assumption that Tesla is doing just as well in 2015 as it is in 2016.

Till Aug 2016, if Model S sales performance is consistent with that in the entire 2015, then optimistically there should be 4588 Tesla Model S and 4136 pessimistically. Taking the average of the two we get 4362, which is equivalent to 72.3% of the EV population in Hong Kong in the same month (= 4362 / 6031 x 100%).

Street-wise, I have personally run into Renault Zoe owned by Hong Kong Electric and more Volkswagen E-golf owned by CLP Power, as well as at least 3 Tesla Model S almost at any moments on the roads, the future is looking bright!

Here's a video interview of Charged Hong Kong chairman Mark Webb-Johnson with Renault Hong Kong's brand manager at FIA Formula E Hong Kong event.


Loss of tangible cost-Total economic loss: Hedley Environmental Index by HKU
Image captured and line drawn by Locky's English Playground

Last but not least, again, this may be coincidental with the stricter pollution control and refinement of fuel mix by the power companies, but the Hedley Environmental Index charts (an indicator for air pollution level impacting the Hong Kong economy managed by the Environmental Health Research Team of School of Public Health at The University of Hong Kong ) for Total Economic Loss (= Loss of tangible cost + loss of healthy life value), have finally shown a general trend of decline since January 2014, which coincides with the time when EVs in Hong Kong began to pick up sales.

Loss of healthy life value-Total economic loss: Hedley Environmental Index by HKU
Image captured and line drawn by Locky's English Playground
What these means is the air has dramatically improved during this period and the entire Hong Kong population has been living a healthier life for the last 2 years.

Hedley Environmental Index by HKU
Image captured by Locky's English Playground
Could any part of this contributed by the growth of EVs?

Hedley Environmental Index on 1st November 2016
Image from HKU
As of today, just one day, 1st November 2016, the total economic loss is near HK$72M. My calculated average shows about 200 EVs are sold in Hong Kong per month, meaning less than 0.667 EVs per day. The EV First Registration Tax waives, based on a personal 'guesstimate' for simplicity sake, an average of HK$0.72M per EV, that is 1% of the total economic loss due to air pollution PER DAY, and today is considered as quite a good day with low level of air pollution, as demonstrated by the photo below, taken today in North Point.

Still see a little blue sky above
Image from Locky's English Playground 

Thank you Prof. Hedley!


Resources:

First look at the Tesla Model S with new front-end [Updated] +Electrek.co
https://electrek.co/2016/04/12/first-look-tesla-model-s-new-front-end/

Tesla Offer HK Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/teslahkgroup/posts/1750116858600819?match=ZmFjZWxpZnQ%3D


Hedley Environmental Index
http://hedleyindex.sph.hku.hk/html/en/index.php

Anthony Hedley was a true hero of community health @SCMP
http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/1668550/anthony-hedley-was-true-hero-community-health


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Games: Pokémon GO v. 0.37 bans rooted/jailbroken phones, and not

Google Maps: Pokémon Challenge
Photo: Google/YouTube

Is game-hacking all bad? Smartphone rooters/jailbreakers = game hackers?
Pokémon fanboy X suffers from a physical disability and is unable to walk. Travelling back and forth home and hospitals is almost the furthest it gets. Doesn’t dream of exploring the world, just dream of exploring Hong Kong. Prior to the launch of Pokémon GO, Google Map was his eyes and feet. Google’s 2014 April Fool video titled Google Maps: Pokémon Challenge and game gave him a day of fun and hope to live.



Then Pikachu came knocking on his mobile phone screen from the Augmented-Reality world, hope rekindled, but the GPS-based game was as much a sarcasm as it is a tease, “New stories have surfaced virtually daily about Trainers getting out into the real world, becoming more healthy, meeting neighbors, and helping kids. We’ve also heard from people using the game to cope with social anxiety, depression and autism, and even using it to improve their relationships. We have heard from tens of thousands of you directly, including amazing examples such as Kelly, who emailed us to tell her story about getting out finding a new sense of purpose. ” – Niantic Blog, 13 Sep 2016. 

Buddy System, v0.37
Photo: Android Police

Thanks to the game hackers, a Pokémon GO hack allows him to play the game and explore the Pokémon world even on his hospital bed using his rooted/jailbroken mobile phone, until the latest version 0.37 update in which Niantic decides to add Buddy System AND rooted/jailbroken phone ban, taking away the game entirely away from people with disability like X.

Be not afraid, because whenever there is a game community there is a hack. Using Magisk!, game hackers have once again become the heroes of X and now he can continue to enjoy ‘getting out’ into the ‘real world’, becoming more healthy, meeting ‘neighbours’, and helping kids like him.

  So, what is the point of making game hacks more difficult?

First, it is simply wrong to consider all smartphone rooters and jailbreakers as game hackers. Rooting/jailbreaking is about gaining more control of their own phones such as customization and even security. Banning all rooted/jailbroken smartphones from the game is like saying everyone with a screwdriver will rob a bank and crack open the vaults. Second, there is always going to be a game hack whatever a game company decides to do, so why bother? Third, hacks and cheats actually prolong the lifespan of a game. How do I know? Reverse-thinking: what happens when smartphone rooters/jailbreakers do not bother going through the trouble of hacking the game anymore? Because to them, which is more important, their right to fully control their phones or just another phone game?

Lastly, does Niantic even care about players like X?

References:
Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall! +Niantic
https://www.nianticlabs.com/blog/autumn/

Pokémon GO updated to 0.37, adds Buddy Pokémon and Pokémon GO Plus support, blocks rooted devices +Android Police
http://www.androidpolice.com/2016/09/10/pokemon-go-updated-0-37-adds-buddy-pokemon-pokemon-go-plus-support-blocks-rooted-devices/ 

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Environment: Super Typhoon Meranti. Always Love a Big Eye

Satellite image of Super Typhoon Meranti
Image: Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau.
 Always love a clear, big eye of a typhoon. It's a beautiful product of Mother Nature, reminding us that she is watching every bit of damage humans are doing to the environment and climate.

Super Typhoon Meranti's track and forecast
Image: Hong Kong Observatory, 8:33am, 14 September 2016