Premier: 10% duty reduction for electric cars

Two cars, one bike to hit streets Friday

Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush said Tuesday he would authorise a 10 per cent import duty reduction for electric cars and motorcycles.

The announcement comes just a few days ahead of the legalisation of certain electric cars for use on all three Islands’ roads when the regulations of the new Traffic Law take effect on Friday.

Mr. Bush said he would ask Cabinet members for a further reduction in import duties for the vehicles, but couldn’t promise anything further immediately. The initial duty reduction means a 32 per cent levy charged on the import of an electric vehicle would drop to 22 per cent.

“We do lose some revenue….but while that happens we gain an improvement to our environment,” Mr. Bush said during a Tuesday press conference.

The Premier was joined Tuesday afternoon by Cayman Automotive CEO John Felder. Mr. Felder has been trying to bring electric vehicles into the country for going on seven years and with the implementation of the Traffic Law Friday will finally see his first road-ready electrics be registered for use.

Mr. Felder said plans were in the works for a network of 14 electric car charging stations with the first four going in at Camana Bay, the Cayman Motor Museum in West Bay, Governors Square and at Kaibo in North Side.

The Cayman Automotive CEO also said the first electric cars in the Caribbean to be available for tourist rentals would be announced in Cayman Brac on Friday.

“It’s important for all the Caribbean,” Mr. Felder said. “This will become the model; there is no one else in the Caribbean doing what you see here today.”

What visitors to the government administration building saw Tuesday were three fully electric powered vehicles that will be transferred to their owners upon being registered Friday. Those included a ‘Think City’ electric car sold to local businessman Joey Hew, a ‘Wheego Electric’ car sold to former Chamber of Commerce President Jim O’Neill and a ‘Zero’ electric motorcycle sold to Shaun Whittaker.

Mr. Whittaker gave a demonstration of his new bike Tuesday afternoon. On-lookers couldn’t tell when he started up the electric bike because it operates in complete silence.

Mr. Felder said he had four other electric cars being shipped in now that had already sold.

“The future is here, and the Cayman Islands are a part of it,” Mr. Bush said.
 

Wheego

The Wheego all electric powered vehicle can go up to 100 miles on a charge.
Brent Fuller

7 COMMENTS

  1. How are the electrical vehicles better for the environment? Do they not still get their power from diesel power from CUC? These are a great idea, but simply not practical here – unless someone has enough solar panels to power the vehicle – assuming that is even possible.

    It sounds more like Mr. Bush is giving a local business man who has been jerked around by the government a little help, which is good. But why not just say that up front?

  2. Renewable energy items like Wind and Solar are 100% duty free so why not have the electric vehicles duty free.

    Yes, 4 solar panels on your home can power your electric car for free. If CUC would allow NET metering in lieu of their FIT policy then you could store power in battery banks to charge your electric car after the sun goes down.

    Mr. Bush is almost right. Just need CUC to get on board with NET metering, as the future here!!!

  3. While at the moment electric cars have to get electricity from the grid, which is diesel powered, this is step in the right direction. Along with a revised FIT scheme, this is good for Cayman and will no doubt raise demand for alternative energy; read cheaper energy.

    There are many options besides solar PV for generating your own power, wind, solar thermal, biomass, ethanol, biodiesel etc.

    We now have viable options for alternative energy, we just have to pick one within our budget and do our own part to reduce our carbon foot print and CUC bill.

  4. Wind turbines also have their downside – the shadow effect caused by the blades can be very disruptive to neighbors and the sound created by the blades needs to considered. Also the construction needed to install a unit is very damaging to the surrounding area. Needless to say wind farms don’t belong anywhere near residential properties – try selling your house when there is a constant noise and a flickering light as each blade momentarily blocks the sun.

  5. Sorry 4Cayman you are just repeating the anti-windfarm propaganda.

    Where I live we have wind turbines right next to a local town that are over 200 feet tall with 200 foot diameter rotors. Each one generates 1.5 megawatts and makes less noise (they are almost silent) than the traffic on the local roads.

    Local farmers round here are also currently installing hundreds of smaller wind turbines with no problems. These would be ideal for private use in the Cayman Islands.

    This is like the birds and bats scare – totally bogus.

  6. Changing the rate of duty on these vechicles from 32% to 22% is not a 10% reduction. It is a 10 percentage point reduction.

    A 10% reduction in duty would mean the duty decreasing by 3.2 percentage points from 32% to 28.8%.

    This distinction might seem pedantic but if I were in the market for one of these vehicles I know which option I would prefer!

  7. Great news! Mr. Bush, what are the chances of importing samller, electric bikes like the Urb-e scooter (www.urb-e.com)?
    We would like to stow 1-2 on our boat to commute around town when we stop for supplies.

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