Provisional Legislative Council
Panels on Environmental Affairs and Transport
Availability of LPG Vehicles other than Taxis
At the joint meeting of the Provisional Legislative Council Panel on Environmental Affairs and Panel on Transport on 26 March 1998, Members requested the Administration to provide further information on its study of the application of the LPG vehicle technology to other classes of diesel vehicles.
Application of LPG Vehicle Technology
2. Most of the LPG vehicles being used overseas are light duty vehicles such as passenger cars, taxis, trucks and vans. Some single-deck buses are also running on LPG. The bulk of these LPG vehicles are converted from petrol vehicles. However, overseas experience shows that custom-made LPG vehicles are superior in vehicle performance, safety and emission standards. The Administration has therefore decided to introduce custom-made models to attain the highest vehicle performance standards.
Search for Suitable LPG Vehicles
3. Custom-made LPG taxis meeting local requirements are readily available in the market. The Administration has been working closely with major vehicle manufacturers on the availability of other LPG vehicles. Below is a summary of the Administration's interim findings:
- LPG Light Buses and Vans:
A European vehicle manufacturer can provide the local market with LPG light bus and van below 4 tonnes. An LPG light bus is about 20% more expensive than its diesel counterpart of Japanese make. Japan also has LPG light buses but only for its domestic market. We are exploring with Japanese vehicle manufacturers on whether they can produce LPG public light bus for Hong Kong.
- LPG buses:
Only two European bus manufacturers are interested in producing LPG single deck buses meeting local requirements for right-hand drive, low floor design and air-conditioning. The lead time for their production is about 7 to 9 months. The bus manufacturers are willing to look into the feasibility of providing the LPG version of local double deck buses if Hong Kong can decide on a more concrete implementation plan.
- Other heavy duty LPG vehicles:
Heavy duty vehicles including LPG buses require a propane-rich LPG that is different from the domestic LPG being used in Hong Kong. A separate infrastructure is needed to introduce this special grade of LPG. Vehicle manufacturers are not keen in producing custom-made heavy duty LPG vehicles. Only a small number of heavy duty LPG vehicles are in use and they are converted models.
Extension of the LPG Vehicle Technology
4. Subject to the final results of the LPG Taxi trial scheme, the intention is to introduce the LPG vehicle technology to the taxi fleet as a start. The technology would be extended to other classes of diesel vehicles if studies show that:
- sufficient infrastructure LPG filling stations can be provided;
- there are suitable, cost effective vehicle models;
- greater use of LPG vehicles is a more environmentally and economically acceptable solution than other technologies under development; and
- that the cumulative risks arising from the size of the LPG vehicle fleet are within accepted limits.
5. The Administration is studying these factors in order to determine the kinds of vehicles for conversion to LPG and the pace of the switch.
Planning, Environment and Lands Bureau