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In March, Amp Electric Vehicles announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding with U-Go Stations Cayman to bring its converted all-electric Mercedes-Benz ML to the Caribbean islands. Turns out, the gas-less powertrain is causing some bureaucratic headaches.

In order to allow EVs into the islands, the government needed to pass a law saying so. This law was passed and signed by the governor last November, Amp's Marty Rucidlo told AutoblogGreen. But, when John Felder, a local car dealer, went to the Grand Cayman Department of Vehicle and Drivers Licensing to get the car approved, he was told that registration would not be possible. According to Caymanian Compass, the problem is that the new law has not yet been given a date when it goes into effect because specific regulations are still being drafted.

Rucidlo told us that these regulations are not specific to EVs (they relate to things like putting boots on improperly parked cars, using cell phones while driving). To help promote the car, he went to the islands over Memorial Day with an MLe that had been in Miami and met people who were interested in buying the electric SUV. He said that the dealer currently has six orders for the car. Last year, Felder was able to get government approval for a Chevrolet Volt, and the ministry issued a statement saying the the new law's regulations "will be brought into effect very shortly."

"We were well aware what we were stepping into with this," Rucidlo said. "We wanted to give them a hand."


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  • 6 Comments
      Spec
      • 4 Months Ago
      EVs on islands are contradictory. In some ways, they seem like a natural fit since long range is not an issue on an island. But on the other hand, many islands are dependent on expensive oil-generated electricity. So if you want EVs on an island, you had better figure out a good non-oil-based electricity generation system or you won't get much benefit from them. Iceland can do geothermal. Wind & solar work in many places.
        marcopolo
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Spec
        @Spec, The power requirement of most island nations are as varied as the locations of the islands themselves. What first attracted me to alternate fuelled vehicles was watching an ageing fuel tanker navigating the reef to berth at the South Pacific island of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. The skill of the vessel's Captain, was awesome, but the feeling that the sea will eventually defeat even the best of seaman, remained with me. Most island nations have power generation capacity, greater than they need. The problem is often the cost of distribution to smaller islands in the same archipelago. Solar power can be useful and economic in some locations, but like wind turbines, has problem with not only cost, but Hurricanes ,typhoons etc. Chevron has a really innovative R&D program for small Geo-thermal production. But regardless of the power source, Electric vehicles are a real boon to small island communities. In these circumstances, EV's lack of speed and range, is not important. Although on some islands, terrain can be a problem, most islands are the one place an EV can out perform ICE vehicles. In terms of pollution and economics it's still better to generate electricity from fossil fuel and power EV's, than generate power from fossil fuel, and provide more fossil fuel for transport. The potential market for EV's of all types in island communities, is very promising ! However, the disadvantages of low per capita incomes, and dislocation of local oil based employment can be difficult to overcome. I have found it easier to introduce EV's as tourist rental vehicles at resorts (as an extension of Golf buggies). Gradually, light delivery and agricultural type EV's can be introduced. The biggest problem is the high proportion of 2 wheel motor bikes on islands. These very cheap (and pollutant ) vehicles are immensely popular, and very difficult to replace with EV's. Some prejudices are very hard to overcome ! One look at the legs of many islanders, reveals the scars of horrific exhaust burns, but despite the obvious benefits, conversion to Ev's remains difficult. One consideration is price. Another is the proliferation of home mechanics. (EV are more difficult, and more expensive to repair at home). Also, although even the smallest ICE moped is often laden with all kinds of weight, it still outperforms EV two wheelers. (on many island communities, law enforcement is very selective) Transferring new, even beneficial, technology to relatively small communities, can be very difficult. What appears a terrific idea in a big city, run into all kinds of unforeseen problems in smaller communities. Still, you only have to once witness the devastation to pristine reefs and island coastlines created even a modest oil spill, to become convinced that there has to be a better way !
          Spec
          • 4 Months Ago
          @marcopolo
          ". What first attracted me to alternate fuelled vehicles was watching an ageing fuel tanker navigating the reef to berth at the South Pacific island of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. The skill of the vessel's Captain, was awesome, but the feeling that the sea will eventually defeat even the best of seaman, remained with me. " Inspiring.
        DaveMart
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Spec
        There is not much the matter with solar, except it's still high cost, in places like the Cayman islands. Here is the solar insolation by month for the Caymans: http://www.gaisma.com/en/location/george-town-ky.html It varies from 7.21 kwh/m2 per day in April, to a still excellent 4.30 in December. That is from 30% nominal capacity down to 18%, or 60% as much sunshine, in a place where the problem is too much heat, not too little so the power requirements will track production pretty well. Overnight storage can be done with batteries, that is not a great problem although the load at shower/breakfast time before the sun is high means that you need more stored power than you would otherwise. Cloud cover can still be a problem, with crystalline cells performing worse than amorphous, but at least we are in the right ball-game. To put it simply, for solar pv to be a useful resource the following conditions need to apply: You have to have sunshine. You have to have it at the time of year it is needed - you can get over daily variations. The Cayman islands meet these criteria. That is nice as it makes a change from conversations with lunatics in Hamburg who imagine that generating power in June is in some way useful in cold Germany in the winter, Price is still a problem, but oil imports are much dearer on islands. After allowing for capacity factors they are still a lot more than nuclear costs, and a small lead reactor would do the job superbly well, but at least there is some sort of sanity about solar at those latitudes. Solar really comes into it's own as the cheapest resource in places with tiny energy requirements in off grid rural areas - think light bulbs and mobile phone chargers in Bangladesh, needing only perhaps 100w and where grid connection would be expensive, but this is a good second.
        DaveMart
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Spec
        For tropical island communities, electric bikes and scooters would do much of the job, especially the flatter islands! Sark has no cars, so that is a start! Hawaii for the US, and Reunion for France are where a lot of renewable power and transport are being premiered. Since the economies of many of these islands is tourist-based, then bragging rights about how green they are, and an absence of petrol fumes, might be a money maker.
        DarylMc
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Spec
        Hi Spec It's all good to aim for a vehicle which doesn't increase CO2 but I think the islands you speak of would find it hard to limit choice when it comes to purchasing any gas guzzler your heart desires. The EV in question is likely to be low volume and it certainly has the ability to run on clean energy sources. It would be quite odd to rule it out as an option.