The island’s lone dealer in electric vehicles is calling for a change to the criterion used by Government to determine the amount of the road tax vehicle owners must pay.
MegaPower Barbados says the old method of taxing vehicles based on weight should be replaced with a system that determines taxes based on emission.
“This is something we continue to talk about, specifically, the licensing of these vehicles. For example, the road tax on a Nissan Leaf is $900 a year, whereas a Toyota Corolla is $450. So we would like to see a change in terms of taxing vehicles based on emissions rather than weight, because, for example, a Leaf saves about 4.7 tonnes of emissions per year. As a country, we are not really addressing emissions as we ought to, and we have been asking Government to consider a special category for registering electric vehicles,” MegaPower Director Joanna Edghill said.
Edgill predicted that an increasing number of Barbadians would turn to electric vehicles, and the signs from Government appeared to be encouraging. The Energy Division has purchased two such vehicles and plans to buy another six before the end of summer this year.
The MagaPower executive revealed that approximately 60 per cent of MegaPower’s business had come from commercial customers.
However, as it seeks to expand, the company was planning to enter the taxi and rental car market.
“In most cities around the world now there are more electric taxis available, and with battery technology improving, with bigger batteries in the vehicles and a longer range, drivers will see the savings right away, as instead of spending $600 a week on petrol or diesel, they will be spending $200 in charging fees. We are still having discussions with the hired car firms and we believe we will get a better response from them given the recent improvements in battery technology.”
Edghill said the company was also busy expanding its charging network, with some 60 stations available around the island.
“With our present network, customers are never more than about four miles from a charging point, and we have gone as far as the Crane Beach Resort and Atlantis Hotel and we will soon be placing one at Santosha on the Ermy Bourne Highway. We have also found that our stations at Sheraton Centre, Sky Mall and Carlton Emerald City have been popular, since customers can charge their car for a couple of hours while they shop, eat lunch or go to the gym,” she said.
Barbados currently has no emissions regulations in place, but an official of the Barbados National Standards Institution said the agency had established a series of emissions standards that would serve as guidelines for such legislation.