Cayman Automotive officially launches the electric car
Premier McKeeva Bush has hailed Cayman Automotive President John Felder as “the electric car hero” of the Cayman Islands.
Speaking at a press launch of the electric car for local roads on Tuesday, 18 September at the Government Administration Building, Mr Bush noted that through the efforts of Mr Felder, Cayman is taking a big step forward on electric vehicles. “Through his research, the government was able to update the current traffic law,” the Premier told the press conference.
“Not so long ago we spoke of the electric car as something of the future. Well, the future is here, and the Cayman Islands are a part of it. I want to congratulate John Felder for his efforts in promoting electric vehicles in the Cayman Islands,” Mr Bush said.
“While you can say that he had a vested interest in this promotion, his efforts did result in people here becoming more aware of the potential of electric vehicles and it also focused the government’s attention on the need to modernise the traffic law,” he added.
Mr Bush noted that through Mr Felder’s unrelenting fight for seven years, the traffic law has been updated to include electric cars and now residents of the Cayman Islands can benefit from environmentally friendly cars that would reduce the island’s carbon footprint.
The electric cars have zero carbon emission since no fossil fuel is required. The Wheego Life vehicle, for example, has a range of 100 miles per charge that takes about five hours using a normal electrical outlet. The cars are priced around $32,995 and above.
Mr Bush also reiterated his commitment made last year to agree to a 10 per cent reduction in duty for all new electric cars.
“As the revenue commissioner, I can do that but beyond that I have to consult with the Cabinet,” he told the press conference.
Currently duty on cars valued between $25,000 and $30,000 (CIF) is 37 per cent and above $30,000 (CIF) is at 42 per cent.
“This government supports the movement toward electric vehicles. Advancements in technology have made the electric vehicle a truly viable alternative to fossil fuel vehicles. It is good for the country, in that it reduces our dependency on gasoline and diesel importation. It is good for the environment and can play an important role in the “greening” not only of our roadways, but the country overall,” the Premier stated.
Mr Bush also signalled his interest in changing one of his vehicles for an electric vehicle, with improvement in the local economy.
Speaking at the same press conference, Mr Felder noted that Grand Cayman will be the first island in the Caribbean to have the sophisticated infrastructure in place to allow for solar charging stations.
“We have an abundance of sunlight in the Cayman Islands; why can’t we take advantage of it?” he quipped.
Mr Felder noted that the Planning Department will soon approve a solar charging station at Governors Square. There will be another charging station at Cayman Motor Museum in West Bay, at Camana Bay and at Kaibo.
On Friday, Cayman Automotive will be in Cayman Brac to announce the first electric car for rent on that island.
Evelyn Tibbetts-Farrar, Personal Lines Manager for Underwriting at Island Heritage Insurance noted that it will be easy for underwriters to insure the new cars.
She noted that since most of the cars are in compliance with the requirements of the US Department of Transportation, then most of the necessary safety standards demanded by Caymanian insurers have been met.
“Island Heritage would like to commend the Cayman Islands government for passing the revised Traffic Law that allows residents of the Cayman Islands to register and insure their electric vehicles,” said the company’s Chief Underwriting Officer, Annette Jim.
“ As a Cayman Islands-based company with operations throughout the Caribbean, we are not only committed to bettering the environment in which we live, but also committed to being a part of the community as shown by our adoption of the Island Heritage roundabout and our many contributions to worthy charities.
“Mr Felder has strong ties with the Cayman Islands community and has been integral in bringing electric cars to the Caribbean. We are proud to partner with him to be the insurer of choice for Cayman Automotive Leasing and electric vehicles in Cayman. This partnership reaffirms Island Heritage’s commitment to green technology and ensures that we are on the cutting-edge of the auto insurance market in the Caribbean,” she said.
The company through its Communications Manager, Lauren Ebanks noted that it is ready to insure electric vehicles of varying voltages and the premium will be calculated as per internal rating guidelines.