Plans for electric car charge stations

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    Although the Cayman Islands government has not approved changes in local law that would allow for fully electric-powered cars, plans are being drawn up to construct a network of electric charging stations to service those vehicles

    Cayman Automotive President John Felder said earlier this month that a number of sites for the charging stations have been proposed and that his business is working with Caribbean Utilities Company to ensure the sites can be effective.

    According a map of the proposed sites given to the Caymanian Compass, two of the stations are proposed for West Bay, three along Seven Mile Beach, one at Camana Bay, three in George Town, one in Savannah, one in East End and one in North Side.

    Mr. Felder said other sites have been proposed as well and that he eventually hopes Grand Cayman will house a dozen such charging stations.

    Admittedly, several things must happen before Grand Cayman gets to this point, including revisions to the Traffic Law to allow for the vehicles to be used on local roads. Right now, certain electric powered vehicles cannot be registered in Cayman because they can’t go fast enough. Also, some models only travel 40-50 miles on a charge.

    But Mr. Felder said two new electric vehicles his company is planning to bring in can travel at top speeds of between 65 and 85 miles per hour and can go up to 100 miles on a charge.

    He said Cayman Automotive has already received approval to begin selling the vehicles in Bermuda, and he has plans to do the same in Jamaica and Bahamas. “In fact, Bermuda has already approved me to sell electric cars, zero duty,” he said. “They’re the first one. In Bermuda [the speed limit] is 35 miles per hour island-wide. They want electric cars.”

    Premier McKeeva Bush has said he would ask government to consider a duty reduction for the importation of electric vehicles.

    “When someone makes this kind of effort…I believe government ought to put our best foot forward and offer something,” Mr. Bush said, adding that he would like to see the import duty of 42 per cent that would normally be paid for the US $58,000 Chevy Volt reduced to ten per cent. The Volt was sold to CUC, but Mr. Felder said it would not be his “bread and butter” car when it comes to selling electric vehicles in Cayman.

    The two vehicles Mr. Felder plans to bring in, the Wheego Life and Tazzari Electric, are 100 per cent electric powered. He hopes the charging station network planned to support them will be the first of its kind in the Caribbean.

    “When it’s finished…putting in the charging stations from Kaibo to West Bay, it’s going to help every [auto] dealer on this Island,” Mr. Felder said. “Of course, I’m going to let [other auto dealers] use the stations, but they’re going to pay me.”

    Mr. Felder also hopes the charging stations will be a boon to local businesses that have them on their premises.

    “Places like Camana Bay and Kaibo and Governors Square and Foster’s…it’s good for them,” he said. “Because when you take your electric car there, you’re not going to sit there and watch it charge, you’re going to spend some money.”

    Chief Officer for the Ministry of Works Kearney Gomez has said that changes to Cayman’s Traffic Law allowing 100 per cent electric-powered vehicles to be used on Cayman roads will come before lawmakers later this year.

    Mr. Felder said he expected the legal amendments to be similar to those in the United States that allow lower speed electric cars to be used as “neighbourhood vehicles” that cannot go on high-speed thoroughfares. Higher-speed electric vehicles would be approved for use on local roads, he expected.

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    6 COMMENTS

    1. This is one of the few bright things I’ve seen Cayman politicians propose. The duty reduction would take it another step further. The cars are a perfect fit for Cayman both due to its size and environment. Now if they’d figure out a recycling program as opposed to Mt. Trashmore, they’d be really cooking!

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    2. Some calculations based on open data from Wikipedia.org:

      Article about Chevrolet Volt says:

      The EPA found in tests using varying driving conditions and climate controls, the all-electric range averaged 35 miles (56 km), with an energy consumption of 36 kWh per 100 miles (810 kJ/km)

      36 kWh per 100 miles. Write that down.
      Next quote:

      EPA rated the Volt’s combined city/highway fuel economy at 93 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent in all-electric mode

      93 MPG is perfect, but we must understand that it is based on the structure of power generation in US. For Cayman number will be different. Going to next article on wikipedia.org:

      Diesel generator

      Fuel consumption is the major portion of diesel plant owning and operating cost for power applications, whereas capital cost is the primary concern for backup generators. Specific consumption varies, but a modern diesel plant will consume between 0.28 and 0.4 litres78 of fuel per kilowatt hour at the generator terminals.

      0.28 – 0.4 litres per kWh = 0.074 – 0.106 gallons per kWh
      Another important piece here – AT THE GENERATOR TERMINALS. Let’s open CUC annual report. Latest available is 2009 (watch CUC website). Net generation is 597.4, Sales are 558.1. For our calculation we need GROSS generation at the generators terminal, but we can go on with net generation – just remember, that we are probably overestimting MPG of Volt.
      So: 558.1 / 597.4 = 0.9342 – this is the share of energy produced which gets to the customers (not lost in transmission).

      Summing everything up to calculate Volt’s MPG in Cayman:

      Best case:
      0.074 * 36 / 0.9342 = 2.852 gallons per 100 miles or 35 MPG.

      Worst case:
      0.106 * 36 / 0.9342 = 4.085 gallons per 100 miles or 25 MPG.

      So, if you are going to charge you Chevrolet Volt using CUC plug, you’ll get at best 25-35 MPG. (at best, because gross generation was more than net generation there are other factors leading to power being lost.)

      You can try comparing this to MPGs of Diesel Cars yourself. The one I found is Skoda Octavia (diesel version). It has 105 hp compared to 74 hp of Volt, not comparing travel distance on one charge. And the MPG is 54. (Again wikipedia.org, Diesel engine / Power and fuel economy). Compare 25-35 with 54. Please remember – in this case it is the bigger the better.

      I hope somebody in the Cayman government can repeat these calculations and ask some meaningful questions before allowing electric cars to Cayman.

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    3. However, what is needed for small diesel vehicles is a higher grade of diesel fuel. Government should mandate rhe existing fuel wholesalers to start importing this.

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    4. Hmmm would you look at that. Not once did they mention that they would be using solar power to fuel these electric car-charging stations.

      We’ve got the Sun, why not use it? It’s rainy a couple of days of the year, we could install ones that could be folded down during a hurricane, and that would create jobs (engineers, electricians, etc.) for Caymanians.

      The whole point of these is to be better for the environment. Bringing in diesel to turn it into electricity just because certain cars need electricity doesn’t make sense.

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    5. Electric cars are totally awesome! I’m glad that variety of such cars will be available in the market. Eco-friendly programs are initiated nowadays globally especially in car utilization. Albeit there are noted disadvantages of electric cars, the advantages outweigh some concerns including its effect to nature and as a source of energy such for instance Nissan leaf car. Nissan Motors, the company is scheming to make its eco-friendly Leaf automobile into an alternate energy source for houses in times of crisis. I found this here: a title=Nissan automobile could double as house generator href=http://www.cardealexpert.com/news-information/auto-news/nissan-car-powers-homes/Nissan developing an electric car that powers homes/a. Well, this is still a good step to shun our environment from degradation and a ride everywhere will be nature friendly.

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