The Environment Bureau (ENB) in Hong Kong announced that its 2017-2018 budget would have two major changes to regulations regarding their electric vehicles First Time Registration (FTR) scheme. The first regards privately owned electric vehicles (EVs), the tax will now only be waived up to $97,500 and the second refers to electric commercial vehicles which will no longer benefit from the FTR waiver scheme.
The main reason for the new tax system is to limit the growth of the private car fleet in Hong Kong.
A spokesman for the ENB said, “The Financial Secretary has announced in the Budget Speech today that, in consideration of the overall growth of the private car fleet in recent years and the increasing acceptance of electric private cars by drivers, from April 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018, first registration tax of electric commercial vehicles, electric motorcycles and electric motor tricycles will continue to be fully waived. However, the waiving of first registration tax for electric private cars will be capped at $97,500.” He also added that the new FRT concessions for electric private cars can achieve a reasonable balance between promoting the use of electric private cars and stemming the excessive growth of the private car fleet.
The new taxation raised concerns among supporters of plug-in electric vehicles. They fear that sales will drop arguing that wide acceptance of EV’s was a direct result of the FRT waiver.
Regarding commercial vehicles, Charged Hong Kong, a registered charity, dedicated to supporting and accelerating the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles in Hong Kong, says the new waiver sends a message to industry and to vehicle owners and operators that the government does not fully support the incentives.
“Electric vehicles today make up less than 1% of the private car fleet, and the % of commercial vehicles is significantly lower than that. In this infancy of Electric Vehicles in Hong Kong, it is far too soon to withdraw the support” – Charged Hong Kong press release.