Markets

In Cayman, the Future of Electric Cars

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - September 3, 2012

Above: the Wheego LiFe (CJ Photo)

By Alexander Britell

GRAND CAYMAN — It began with a small group of cars under a white tent just across from Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman — but it could herald the start of a large movement in the Caribbean.

Last week, Cayman Automotive hosted the first-ever Caribbean International Electric Auto Show, an expo putting cutting-edge electric car designs on display.

The show was the effort of Cayman Automotive, which introduced the first electric car to the Caribbean in 2009 and is now the region’s exclusive electric dealer.

“Now that the [electric car] law has finally been passed, that the regulation is finally done, customers can now drive an electric vehicle in the Cayman Islands,” John Felder, president and CEO of Cayman Automotive, told Caribbean Journal. “So this is truly historic.”

The Caribbean International Electric Auto show featured six different vehicles, from the Wheego LiFe to an in-development electric roadster from Shockwave Motors.

“You’re going to see more and more of these on the road,” said Ken Wambold, regional sales manager for Atlanta, Ga.-based Wheego, a three-year-old company which is also developing a five-passenger electric crossover modeled on the Toyota Venza that he called a “soccer mom’s dream.”

Wheego is planning to increase its worldwide dealer network to about 100 by 2015, he said, along with further expansion in Caribbean islands like Puerto Rico and Jamaica and in the Dominican Republic.

The Wheego LiFe vehicle that was on display at Cayman Automotive has a range of about 100 miles, with a top speed of 65 miles per hour.

It takes seven or eight hours to charge the cars at home. Charging at a station, of which Grand Cayman already has two, involves about the time it takes for a run to the local market.

There are plans for 14 to 15 such stations, with the aim of making them solar-powered.

“These islands are absolutely perfect for electric vehicles,” Wambold said.

For the sporting-inclined, Shockwave is offering its Predator EV3 roadster.

Above: a rendering of the Predator EV roadster

The company, which is based in eastern Tennessee, is looking at the possibility of setting up local manufacturing in Cayman and other islands, according to Shockwave’s John McMillian.

“Our design plan is very simple and straightforward — we have a fiberglass body and a tubular steel chassis that we can fabricate anywhere,” McMillan said. “Our whole thing is to market in local markets so that we don’t have to worry about building cars and shipping them — plus, it brings jobs to a local community.”

The electric car movement could be particularly beneficial to a region whose fuel costs continue to rise.

For Cayman Automotive, the hope is to sell between 2,000 and 3,000 electric vehicles within the next five years, with a portion of that including fleet sales.

Felder, who is the exclusive dealer for eight other countries in the Caribbean, said an electric motorcycle is also on the way.

“I think that, in the next 10 years, electric cars and hybrids will be dominant, probably controlling 50 percent of the market share in the region,” he said. “It just makes sense.”

Popular Posts jamaica new hotel montego bay

Looking for a Budget-Friendly Montego Bay Vacation? There's a New Hotel for That  

It’s home to one of the most famous streets in the Caribbean, named after one of Jamaica’s global music icons: Jimmy Cliff Boulevard.  While the heavily-trafficked street has seen its share of ups and downs in recent decades, that’s been […]


At These 13 Resorts, You Can Take the Perfect Adventure-Filled Vacation in Belize

belize blancaneaux

Belize, a Caribbean travel destination full of natural wonders that also happens to have some of the coolest adventure resorts on the planet, from top-flight jungle hotels to luxurious river lodges and just about everything in between, whether you’re seeking […]


Why Ambergris Caye, Belize is the Caribbean Capital of Overwater Bars

belize san pedro ambergris caye

You can hear the ballad from Palapa halfway across Ambergris Caye; for a moment you swear the voice belongs to Dolly Parton herself.  Palapa is the town’s most prominent stage, hosting a revolving door of talented artists for intimate concerts […]


Related Posts carnival cruise line

Carnival is Making Its New Grand Bahama Cruise Port Bigger 

In what is expected to be a massive boost for Grand Bahama, Carnival Cruise Line is in the process of building a brand-new cruise destination on the island called Celebrtaion Key, which is slated to open in 2025. Now, Carnival […]


Island Routes Is Expanding to St Vincent and the Grenadines 

la soufriere volcano

Caribbean attraction company Island Routes is adding another destination in the Caribbean: St Vincent and the Grenadines.  The company’s expansion comes ahead of sister brand Sandals Resorts International’s imminent debut of the new Sandals St Vincent resort, slated for this […]


The Bahamas Is the Caribbean’s Hottest Spring Destination 

pink sand beach

The Bahamas is the most popular destination in the Caribbean for spring travel, according to a new report from travel insurance company Squaremouth.  The Bahamas was the only Caribbean destination to make the top 10 among the most popular destinations […]


SUBSCRIBE!

Sign up for Caribbean Journal's free newsletter for a daily dose of beaches, hotels, rum and the best Caribbean travel information on the net.


No. Thank You