Tesla opens 50-car charging station in Hong Kong

Move comes as sales of US electric car take a tumble

FILE - In this Oct. 24, 2016, file photo, palm trees are reflected on the hood of a Tesla Model S on display in downtown Los Angeles.  Tesla says it recorded one accident for every 3.34 million miles driven when the autopilot was engaged. 
That number of per-mile accidents rises to 1.92 million when autopilot is not on.  (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
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Tesla is beefing up its vehicle charging infrastructure in Hong Kong to help lure back customers after an end to the city’s tax breaks caused sales to plunge.

The two-level, 50-stall Destination Charging facility in Kowloon Bay can provide full charge to a car battery in a few hours, according to a company spokeswoman in Hong Kong. It takes as long as 10 hours at Tesla’s Destination Charging sites to top up juice in the cells, whereas it takes about 90 minutes at Supercharger stations, with the time depending on battery conditions.

Destination charging facilities are ideal for people working, living or shopping in the area, according to the spokeswoman. Superchargers, an option while on the road, can charge 50 per cent of the battery in around 20 minutes, she added.

The California-based car maker believes charging stations are key to boosting sales of electric vehicles, and the backbone has been a crucial reason for its gains in mainland China, where it hasn't received any subsidies. Since Hong Kong's administration scrapped tax incentives for private-use EVs in April 2017, Tesla has managed to sell just 40 cars through February, compared with 2,939 sold in March last year, according to the South China Morning Post.


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“As part of Tesla’s commitment to Hong Kong, we continue to expand charging footprint all over Hong Kong, Kowloon and New Territories,” the car maker said on Monday, adding the recently opened facility would be the biggest destination charging location in Asia Pacific. Tesla already has 92 superchargers at 21 supercharger facilities in Hong Kong.

After struggling to fix manufacturing problems at its sole car factory in Fremont, California, Tesla has started the process of building a plant in China, the world’s biggest market for electric vehicles. The unprofitable car maker is in the process of procuring land in Shanghai for its first manufacturing facility outside the US, pushing ahead with its plans after months of tumult involving chief executive Elon Musk.

In mainland China, Tesla now has more than 1,300 superchargers and 2,000 destination charging posts in more than 170 cities.