ROSEAU –– Dominica now has its very first electric vehicle.
The vehicle, a Nissan Leaf model, was introduced by Dominica Electricity Services Ltd (DOMLEC), which owns it, at its Fond Cole branch today.
The brightly painted new kid on the block, depicts the country’s aqua culture, flora and fauna, including a waterfall on the exterior. According to transmission and distribution manager Lemuel Lavinier, the electric vehicle is expected to be one of many vehicles in the company’s fleet. The vehicle was sourced in Barbados at a cost of EC$122,439.
“It is among a list of energy, efficiency and renewable initiatives at DOMLEC, all geared at reducing contributions to global warming and keeping our nature island clean and green,” Laviner explained.
He noted that electric vehicles are becoming more efficient and affordable as battery technology improve, allowing more energy to be stored in the same volume and while there are other electric vehicles on the market, this type was selected because of its popularity and its high safety ranking on the US National Highway Safety Administration.
“The wheels are driven by a large 80 kilowatt motor of 107 horsepower powered by a 24 kilowatt lithium ion battery and that is the same battery that powers your cellphone,” he said. “Consequently it requires significantly less periods of servicing; so you don’t have engine oil to change, you don’t have fuel filters, air filters, so the whole maintenance and operating cost of the vehicle is less. So this results in a lower cost of ownership than your conventional vehicle.”
He noted that it was the DOMLEC’s vision to power the vehicle solely by renewable energy on the grid which can be charged via a charging station which is installed by service providers on standard three pin outlets.
“It also generate its own electric energy when it drives downhill, it generates electricity and charges the battery,” he stated.
The vehicle is equipped with a power-saving mode which gives up to 84 miles on a full charge. Charging time ranges from 30 minutes via quick charge and four to eight hours for full charge.
“The most common charging methods is overnight,” Laviner said.
Meanwhile member of the board of directors of DOMLEC, Federica James, said the introduction of the vehicle was a historic moment for the company.
“DOMLEC is indeed dynamic and not a static organization; hence DOMLEC is willing to take risks with its eyes fixed on the rewards. And the evidence is unfolding today as DOMLEC is displaying its corporate social responsibility, not by being a corporate citizen, but by highlighting its ecological awareness,” She pointed out.
“Since petrol will not be utilized, there of course will be no emissions of greenhouses gases. This is the opportune time to launch this ecofriendly vehicle since Erika has given us a perfect example of the havoc that can be in sighted if and when we are very unfriendly to our environment.”
She said it was amazing the role that technology played in the world and DOMLEC was part of that technological revolution.
“Technological yet friendly to our nature isle. We are going green,” she added.
James noted that with the regional and international attention that it is receiving currently, “DOMLEC had concluded the jury was still out; however the jury has returned with a positive verdict and we are delighted to be launching this electric vehicle today Friday, November 6, 2015. This is the historical day.”