Felder: 200 electric cars by end of 2015

By the end of this year, Cayman will have a total of 50 vehicles that are 100 percent electric-powered driving around the islands.  

Cayman Automotive President John Felder said Wednesday that he had orders for that many vehicles and is hopeful that as many as 200 fully electric-powered vehicles would be here by the end of 2015.  

“I’m ramping up because people are asking for this,” Mr. Felder said at the opening of his new solar-powered electric car charging station at Governor’s Square, the first stand-alone structure in Cayman strictly for the use of vehicle charging.  

“By the end of 2015, it is my goal to make Grand Cayman the [jurisdiction with] the largest percentage of electric car owners in the world, per capita. Right now, I think Finland holds that mark,” he said.  

The ribbon-cutting at the charging station was done by Cayman Islands Governor Helen Kilpatrick.  

“I think [solar power] is the future for the Caribbean and transport here,” Mrs. Kilpatrick said. “Well done.”  

Cayman Automotive currently owns four operating electric car charge stations: the one at Governor’s Square [Cayman Automotive’s only solar-powered station], at the Cayman Car Museum in West Bay, the Creighton Properties building on Crewe Road, and the Reef Resort in East End. A fifth charging station at Kaibo Beach Bar in North Side is expected to be operational within two weeks.  

In addition, Camana Bay owns a solar-powered electric vehicle charging station. The Dart group had the first solar-powered car charging station in Cayman. However, the solar panels used there power a building as well. Mr. Felder clarified that the Governor’s Square charging station was the first stand-alone solar-powered charge station.  

“But Dart did it first, let’s give them credit where credit is due,” he said.  

Cayman still has a long road ahead before it can be considered “electric” with regard to vehicles. As of Wednesday, there were only 14 vehicles that are 100 percent electric powered on local streets. However, Mr. Felder said Budget Rent-A-Car’s proposal to operate a fleet of electric-powered rental vehicles has established the need to quickly set up electric car charging stations around the island.  

Eventually, Mr. Felder hopes to have an island-wide network of 14 electric car charging stations entirely powered by solar energy. Other potential locations for charging stations include the Wharf restaurant on West Bay Road and the Health City Cayman Islands complex in East End.  

The Governor’s Square station is set up to charge only one vehicle at a time. With only 14 electric-powered vehicles on island, Mr. Felder said that should not be a problem.  

However, it does take a while to charge the vehicles. A one-hour charge will take an electric-powered vehicle about 20 miles.  

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Cayman Automotive’s John Felder helps Governor Helen Kilpatrick ‘plug in’ a new electric car at Governors Square on Wednesday. – Photo: Brent Fuller