Of the 4,899 electric-vehicle plates registered here as of April, over 80% are associated with the California-based company, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. The number has more than quadrupled from just 1,160 two years ago, when the company started delivering its Model S luxury sedans in the city.
“Hong Kong meets a lot of the criteria,” said Steve Man, Bloomberg Intelligence’s director of research in Asia for autos and industrials. Man was referring to elements conducive to the adoption of electric cars, where competitive ownership costs and so-called range anxiety come to the fore.
“Consumers actually pay two times more than the retail prices” for a fuel-powered vehicle in Hong Kong, given the city’s punitive environmental taxes, Man said. This makes a Tesla 90D, for instance, cheaper than a Mercedes E400 here despite its higher retail price.
Tesla’s financing program and residual value buyback program further cut the total costs of owning the vehicle, excluding maintenance, to half of its price tag.
More specifically, after the 10% down payment the monthly installment is calculated at 45% of the vehicle’s value. And three years from the purchase, the company will buy back the car for 65% of its retail price. Meanwhile, operating costs are much lower than for a gasoline vehicle, given the annual gas costs could be as high as six times the charging costs in Hong Kong.
Easily accessible chargers further ease such concerns. With 54 superchargers, which allow charging in minutes instead of hours, and 120-plus destination chargers at convenient locations, Tesla drivers can reach a charging facility within 20 minutes. Hong Kong is said to have the highest density of Tesla charging stations in the world, with one outlet per three vehicles on average, versus seven in mainland China and the U.S.
This explains why the city alone made up about 10% of Tesla’s overseas sales last year, while mainland China as a whole accounted for up to 12%