Nobody in Hong Kong wants a Tesla
Hong Kong has long been one of Tesla’s biggest markets, but it may not be for much longer—not a single newly purchased Tesla model was registered in April, according to data from Hong Kong’s transport department.
The plunge in interest in Tesla cars came after the government eliminated tax breaks for electric-vehicle (EV) owners, a policy that went into effect on April 1 and is expected to last until March next year. Now, the city has capped the tax waiver at HK$97,500 ($12,500) on private EVs, and is only applicable to first-time owners. There were 2,939 first-time Tesla registrations in March just before the new tax rules kicked in, around five times that of the number in February.
As a result, it now costs HK$925, 500 ($118,400) for a Tesla Model S 60, compared to HK$570,000 ($72,900) before the new tax policy—giving it little or no price advantage over a Mercedes-Benz.
First-time registrations don’t exactly equal to sales, but is nevertheless a useful proxy as the car needs to be registered in order to run on the road in Hong Kong, said (paywall) the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the story. Hong Kong had 11,004 EVs in use as of May this year, including privately owned and public transport vehicles, according to Hong Kong’s Environmental Protection Department.