Williams Industries will be embarking on a pilot project with the Barbados Transport Board to transform some of its redundant buses to electric.
Chairman of Williams Industries, Ralph Bizzy Williams, informed Barbados TODAY that they would be taking the diesel buses with engine and transmission issues and converting them.
“It is going to start with one or two and if it works we will take as many as the transport board is willing to let us have to replace the diesel engines with electric,” Williams said.
Applauding the move by the Transport Board to roll out 120 to 180 electric buses within 12 to 18 months, Williams said it was “ a very wise move” by authorities.
He stressed that the move to alternative energy sources would cut costs and maintenance issues for the Board which has been riddled with a declining fleet with less than 100 of 295 buses operating.
“The cost of electricity to run an electric car is less than half the cost of gasoline to run a similar sized car even if you buy it directly from the [Barbados] Light and Power. So even if the electricity rates are increased slightly it will still be much cheaper to run electric cars and buses than diesel cars and buses. The maintenance is much less because there are far fewer moving parts in an electric vehicle than in a diesel powered vehicle,” Williams explained.
However, he warned that as authorities rolled out the new fleet of electric vehicles bus drivers and technicians must be properly trained.
“My word of caution would be that proper technicians
need to be trained that know how to maintain the electric buses and the cars. There are lots of young, very bright people in Barbados who I am confident can be trained,” Williams
Chairman of the Transport board, Gregory Nicholls, told Barbados TODAY the objective of the pilot project was “to see whether the bus can work” after it had been converted. He outlined that with the establishment of an electric fleet, the board was moving towards an eco-friendly economy.
“The fuel costs would be significantly lower and we can put in photovoltaic and also sell back energy that would make our purchase of electricity almost down to zero. There is a lot of opportunities in moving cleaner and moving green,” Nicholls said.