As Government continues its push towards making Barbados totally reliant on renewable forms of energy in the next decade, electric car dealer Megapower (Barbados) Limited is reporting a strong take up of electric vehicles especially over the last two years.
Managing Director Joanna Edghill told Barbados TODAY that the sale of the vehicles continue to grow and she expects that trend to continue as the island meets its 2030 vision.
“Business has grown in an ad hoc and organic way. We have managed to have a good volume of repeat customers. So what we find is that organisations and individuals who buy electric vehicles tend to then buy a second or third, swapping their first to a newer model,” she explained.
“Last year was a boom year for van sales . . . we sold more vans than cars last year. We have seen that trend reverse this year with cars being more popular than vans,” reported Edghill.
One of the latest successes of the company, which was established in 2013, was the signing of a contract with what could easily be considered an unlikely partner – the National Petroleum Corporation of Barbados – for a number of electric vans and cars.
“Where I see more successes is with persons who maybe were originally skeptical about electric vehicle uptake find themselves in here buying vehicles,” she added.
It is estimated that there are currently about 400 electric vehicles on the roads, out of the over 100,000 vehicles being driven in Barbados. There are well over 40 charging stations across the island.
Edghill told Barbados TODAY she was satisfied that the island was serious about the change from high carbon emitting vehicles, adding that she expected more government departments and private companies to make the switch soon.
“I am hopeful that when they have a real experience of their own, of electric mobility, they will really understand and see the benefits and then continue that transition,” she said.
The car dealer said Government’s 2030 vision was in line with that of her company, adding that it was highly achievable but needed a comprehensive plan and everyone’s support.
“It is not going to be without its challenges, but I have seen a lot of things happened in the electric mobility and renewable energy space in the last seven years. So why shouldn’t the next ten years have even more change and more growth and development for renewable energy and electric mobility?” she said.
“What is necessary is really a comprehensive plan and path forward, and that has got to comprise both legislation, policy and clear actions, both for the private sector and Government to take. One area for the Government to immediately take is to swap or retire their internal combustion engine vehicles and we are seeing that happening,” she said.
However, with Barbadians known to generally hold on to their diesel vehicles for up to 15 years or more, she said for the 2030 to be fully achieved a major change in mindset needed to take place now.
“It won’t be zero diesel or gasoline vehicles, but by the year 2030 it is possible and highly likely that you will not be able to purchase a new diesel or gasoline vehicle other than biodiesel. That is absolutely achievable,” she said.
Megapower, which has evolved from being a used car supplier to a new car dealer, also has an operation in Antigua and Barbuda.
She said as part of the company’s expansion plan it would be seeking to enter the Jamaica market.