Felder: Six charging stations ready by September 2014
Slowly but surely, Grand Cayman is working its way toward an island-wide electric car charging system.
The problem now: More drivers need to go electric to make it financially viable.
Cayman Automotive President John Felder, the only seller of 100 per cent electric-powered vehicles on the island, said he has recently received word that help is on the way.
Possibly as early as next month, an updated Customs Tariff Law could allow import duty rate on 100 per cent electric-powered cars to be reduced from 22 per cent to 10 per cent. The duty for hybrid electric-gas vehicles would also be reduced from 22 per cent to 15 per cent.
That reduction is on top of a 10 per cent duty cut for electric vehicle imports approved by former Premier McKeeva Bush’s government in 2012.
The only thing holding up the import duty reduction, according to Financial Secretary Ken Jefferson, is the implementation of a computer tracking system for the much more complex Customs Tariff Law approved by lawmakers.
“I was told previously that the refinements being made to the new computer system are expected to be completed by September 2013,” Mr. Jefferson wrote in an email to Mr. Felder last month. “That is the approximate time frame that I expect the new Customs Tariff Law to be brought into effect.”
Mr. Jefferson included some business advice: “It would, however, be sensible to advise your potential customers to hold off importing the electric vehicles until after the new law has been brought into effect – otherwise, they will face the currently higher import duty rates that are linked to the value of the vehicle and not the type of vehicle.”
Speaking at his George Town office last week, Mr. Felder agreed. He said, as of Thursday, there were only 12 fully electric-powered vehicles licensed to drive on Grand Cayman roadways. If Mr. Felder’s plan implements six fully operational electric car charging stations around the island by the third quarter of 2014, and no one else buys electric cars, “We’ll have 50 per cent [station] coverage for those vehicles!” Mr. Felder joked.
However, he does not believe that will be the case. “The 10 per cent [overall] import duty is going to make a big, big difference,” he said. “That will drop the total price for some of these cars under $30,000.”
Planning for the future, Mr. Felder is working on the establishment of electric car charging stations. At this point, two are open – one at Camana Bay and the second at the Cayman Islands Motor Museum in West Bay.
Two other charging stations are under construction, one at the Governors Square complex and another at the Crighton Properties building, which houses Cayman Automotive.
Two more stations are in the planning stages at Kaibo Beach and at East End’s Reef Resort.
“We wanted to make sure every area of Grand Cayman has an electric car charging station,” Mr. Felder said.
Eventually, the plan is to expand to a 14-station charging network in Grand Cayman, but that will require more consumer interest, Mr. Felder said.
“These electric vehicles are more expensive [than the common gas-powered car],” he said. “But we’ve got to do something to get rid of our dependence on foreign oil and clean up the environment.”