St Vincent and the Grenadines continues to test an electric vehicle from Barbados-based Megapower, as the Ralph Gonsalves administration seeks to develop a policy aimed at weaning the country off total dependence on fossil fuel.
Director of the Energy Unit in the St Vincent and the Grenadines Government Ellsworth Dacon said testing commenced earlier this year and is now at an advanced stage.
“We have had some data from Barbados but Barbados is flat. We wanted to test it for ourselves,” he told Barbados TODAY at a workshop in Punta Cana, organized by the Smart Villages Initiative and the Academy of Sciences of the Dominican Republic.
“We got the vehicle in March this year and we are going through various tests. It goes through different ministries, different driving patterns, to have a general feel of what people think about it. They have deployed these in Barbados but we have never really tested it within the context of our terrain, which is very mountainous.
“If successful, the government will probably take a decision to do green procurement for vehicles and then perhaps offer incentives through the import duties on such vehicles, perhaps a 75 per cent off, because we realize it will be expensive. But we need to see the data, how it correlates before we instruct policy,” Dacon added.
In the face of one of the great needs of our time – addressing climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions – more and more countries are moving towards green technology solutions like electric and hybrid vehicles, and these are becoming more readily available.
The electric vehicle from Barbados is being tested alongside a hybrid vehicle from a private sector group in St Vincent.
“The government decided to go with a hybrid and an electric vehicle to compare the data, how they perform, the challenges in terms of servicing, in terms of the length of time to build, the capacity to repair such vehicles, the sort of problems that they could have, and use that data to speak to the policy,” Dacon explained.
“We have a solar charging station where we will be charging the electric vehicle with solar energy. The government has plans perhaps to expand this infrastructure in collaboration with the utility company. But we need to test the results first, see how expensive it is and see the macroeconomics of it,” he added.
Fossil fuel in the form of gasoline or petrol is a non-renewable resource, and when a vehicle uses fossil fuel it converts it into potent greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide nitrogen, which are dangerous to people’s health.
Hybrid vehicles use some gasoline, but are augmented by electrical power.