Jamaica has leapt forward on the path toward energy sustainability as five (5) government ministries have been invited to participate in the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) Electric Vehicle (EV) Trial Program.
Under this Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) funded initiative, Flash Motors, Jamaica’s first exclusively electric transport solution provider, has partnered with leading automotive distributor, the Stewart’s Automotive Group, to loan BYD brand electric powered vehicles to the government bodies for a trial period.
The program was launched at the Stewart’s Automotive Group Jaguar/Land Rover showroom on Friday July 8, where vehicles were handed over to the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Transport and Mining, leaving three spots (3) open for additional ministries to participate in the program. The project will also see each ministry receiving a cutting-edge ABB Terra AC Smart EV charging station, provided by the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), for future use in EV deployment.
The initiative is meant to give decision makers first-hand understanding of the economic benefits, environmental safety benefits and performance efficiency of electric vehicles.
Speaking at the event, Prime Minister the Honorable Andrew Holness spoke to the need for Jamaica to move quickly in order to avoid an influx of outdated technology.
In his speech, the Prime Minister said:
In the next 8-10 years many countries would have mandated that a significant portion of their fleet be electric. Jamaica should not wait. Jamaica should not position itself to be the beneficiary of vehicles that no one else wants. We must position ourselves to be able to take advantage of the most efficient technology available.
Under the IDB’s mandate to support Sustainable Transport and Renewable Energy-Powered electromobility in Jamaica, The GOJ EV trial allows the selected ministries to rotate the use of three BYD models: the BYD Tang SUV, E6 5-Seater Station Wagon, and the T3 Commercial cargo van, so that each ministry gets one working week to assess each model. The global environmental crisis along with rising fuel prices has forced an increase in the production of fully electric vehicles. Worldwide, governments are in the process of building out EV infrastructure for both public and private vehicles.
Xavier Gordon, CEO of Flash Motors, which has the exclusive Jamaican distribution license for BYD and which recently unseated Tesla as the world’s top selling EV brand, explained that the joint initiative aims to prepare Jamaicans for major changes in transportation infrastructure.
We see that the world is quickly changing how machinery is fueled. Technology has changed drastically within one generation and cars are poised for the next big shift. We anticipate that within the next 10-15 years the majority of vehicles being manufactured will be EVs. This trial ensures that Jamaican policy makers can see for themselves how EVs handle in local conditions and make the relevant preparations.
While the electric vehicle revolution will be gradual, BYD EVs are now available for retail customers at Stewart’s Auto Sales.
Duncan Stewart, Managing Director of The Stewarts Auto Group, noted the company has seen local drivers through several eras and will continue to do so as it brings the world’s leading electric vehicle brand to Jamaica.
Stewart’s has over 80 years of experience in the automotive industry, so we have proven our commitment to providing the best in quality and service. We are proud to be a part of this government trial, as we help Jamaicans to navigate all the options that are becoming available in the auto space.
The GOJ-EV Trial program falls under the IDB mandate to provide Sustainable Transport and Renewable Energy-Powered Electromobility Support to Jamaica. The initiative will provide tangible feedback for the outlay of sustainable transport solutions in Jamaica. The project aims to support the GOJ’s for Electric Mobility by the relevant Strategic Framework, assessments, studies, and training to bolster the development of a national EV ecosystem.