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Stakeholders call for duty reduction on electric vehicles

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

A number of stakeholders in the automobile industry and other interest groups have agreed to lobby the Government to reduce the import duty on electric vehicles coming into the island.

The move followed last Wednesday's Electric Vehicle Seminar hosted by the Jamaica Public Servive (JPS) and the United States Agency for International Developemnt (USAID) Caribbean Clean Energy Programme, held at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston.

The JPS, in a release, said it was recognised that the import duty, which is more than 60 per cent, is prohibitive to the purchase of these vehicles.

“Electric vehicles have a positive contribution to make to our economy,” JPS Senior-Vice President of Energy Delivery Sheree Martin pointed out. “Not only do they have zero emissions and are, therefore, good for the environment, but they can also potentially lead to the significant reduction of the fuel import bill which the country now bears,” she added.

The JPS said that in addition to the macroeconomic benefits of the widespread use of electric vehicles, the benefits to individual owners of electric vehicles are significant.

Dr Gary Jackson, managing director of Electric Vehicles Ltd, explained that his electric vehicle has allowed him to experience a one-third reduction in the cost of running his vehicle, compared to a gasoline-run car. “Additionally, because the electric vehicle has no internal combustion engine, maintenance is at a minimum compared to a gasoline-fuelled car. A reduction in the import duty for such vehicles would therefore be beneficial to the average consumer,” Jackson was quoted in a release from the JPS.

Dr Camron Gorguinpour, former manager of the Electrical Vehicle Fleet Programme for the US Defence Department, was among the presenters at the seminar. Additionally, attendees heard about the Barbadian experience shared by Joanna Edghill, who pointed out that her company, MegaPower, has 200 electric cars and 20 electric panel vans on the roads of that Caribbean country.

The event also facilitated robust discussions about the type of infrastructure required, regulatory frameworks and other issues pertinent to the proliferation of electric vehicles.