Jamaica has leapt forward on the path toward energy sustainability as five (5) government ministries have been invited to participate in the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) Electric Vehicle (EV) Trial Program. Under this Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) funded initiative, Flash Motors-Jamaica’s first exclusively electric transport solution provider has partnered with leading automotive distributor Stewart’s Automotive Group to loan BYD brand electric-powered vehicles to the government bodies for a trial period.
The initiative gives decision-makers a first-hand understanding of an electric vehicle’s economic benefits, environmental safety, and performance efficiency. The programme was launched at the Stewart’s Automotive Group Jaguar/Land Rover showroom on Friday, July 8, where the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Transport and Mining received vehicles, leaving three spots open for two additional ministries to participate in the programme. The project will also see each ministry receiving a cutting-edge ABB Terra AC Smart EV charging station provided by the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) for future use in EV deployment.
Prime Minister’s view on Electric Vehicles
Speaking at the event Prime Minister the Honourable Andrew Holness spoke to the need for Jamaica to move quickly to avoid an influx of outdated technology, “In the next 8-10 years, many countries would have mandated that a significant portion of their fleet be electric. Jamaica should not wait. Jamaica should not position itself to be the beneficiary of vehicles that no one else wants. We must position ourselves to be able to take advantage of the most efficient technology available.”
The global environmental crisis and rising fuel prices increase the production of fully electric vehicles. Worldwide, governments are in the process of building out EV infrastructure for both public and private vehicles. Under the IDB’s mandate to support Sustainable Transport and Renewable Energy-Powered electromobility in Jamaica, The GOJ EV trial allows the selected ministries to rotate the use of three BYD models. Each ministry will experience one working week with the BYD Tang SUV, E6 5-Seater Station Wagon, and the T3 Commercial cargo van to assess each model.
Preparing Jamaica for the shift
Xavier Gordon, CEO of Flash Motors, explains that the joint initiative aims to prepare Jamaicans for significant changes in transportation infrastructure, “We see that the world is quickly changing how machinery is fuelled. Technology has changed drastically within one generation, and cars are poised for the next big shift. We anticipate that within the next 10-15 years, the majority of vehicles being manufactured will be EVs.” Flash Motors has the exclusive Jamaican distribution license for BYD, which recently unseated Tesla as the world’s top-selling EV brand. Mr Gordon continued, “This trial ensures that Jamaican policymakers can see for themselves how EVs handle local conditions and make the relevant preparations.”
Duncan Stewart, Managing Director of The Stewarts Auto Group, noted the company has seen local drivers through several eras and will continue to do so as it brings the world’s leading electric vehicle brand to Jamaica. While the electric vehicle revolution will be gradual, BYD EVs are now available for retail customers at Stewart’s Auto Sale. “Stewart’s has over 80 years of experience in the automotive industry, so we have proven our commitment to providing the best in quality and service. We are proud to be a part of this government trial, as we help Jamaicans to navigate all the options that are becoming available in the auto space.”
The GOJ-EV Trial programme falls under the IDB mandate to provide Jamaica’s Sustainable Transport and Renewable Energy-Powered Electromobility Support. The initiative will give tangible feedback for the outlay of sustainable transport solutions in Jamaica. The project aims to support the GOJ’s Strategic Framework for Electric Mobility by conducting the relevant assessments, feasibility studies, and training to bolster the development of a national EV ecosystem.