The entire country has about as many electric vehicles as a typical San Francisco co-op, but Barbados has to start somewhere. The Caribbean island nation is home to about 280,000 people and has a most famous export in Rihanna and now it is sounding the horn for more electric vehicles as a way to help the economy, the Barbados Advocate says.

Sen. Darcy Boyce, minister in the office of the Prime Minister, estimates that the nation spends about $250 million a year – about 30 percent of its total fuel imports – strictly on gas that's used for personal vehicles. And while the country will work on cleaner and more efficient power-generation technology, Barbados will also push for more electric vehicle purchases.

What that means at this point is anyone's guess. The country didn't get its first Nissan Leaf until June and currently has only 13 of them. More EVs were thought to be headed towards the Caribbean last year when Ohio-based Amp Electric Vehicles reached a deal to have its converted plug-in Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Mercedes-Benz ML vehicles exported to the Caribbean. Amp has since moved out of the SUV-conversion business and into the plug-in utility-van field and those order never materialized.

Barbados is in a good position to make EVs work, since smaller islands have always been considered a perfect place for the zero-emission technology because of relatively high gas prices and short driving distances. For instance, among US states, Hawaii has long been considered on the leading edge when it came to EV adoption and charging-infrastructure deployment.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 10 Comments
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      These island nations need to install a massive amount of solar and wind to make EVs more practical.
        Marcopolo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        @ Spec Barbados has the population of a small US city. (280,000) with a per capita income of around $22,000. The Island has only two seasons, dry & wet. The wet season last from June to November making solar less effective. The Island is subject to earthquakes, landslips, gales, fierce tropical cyclones (Hurricanes) etc, all of which make wind and solar less than practical, since neither would work when most needed. On the other hand, with it huge surplus of dross form it's sugar cane production, Barbados might find Bio-mass generation more realistic.
          Jean-Paul Skeete
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marcopolo
          As a Barbadian and PhD candidate researching PV, let me correct a few things. We are not prone to earthquakes or landslides (our island is made of limestone). While solar intermittency (cloud cover) is a reasonable concern, it can be overcome with spatial distribution of solar farms across various topographies to "smooth" the effect. Case in point we are #4 in the world for solar hot water heating capacity per capita. There is plenty Sun. Also while bio-fuel as you suggested might sound good, we are one of the most heavily populated countries per square mile in the world, hence any activity that radically causes a shift in LUC (land use change) is detrimental. Additionally, we are only 266 sq miles so the net gains in bio-fuel production would be insignificant. We are food insecure (agriculturally) as is, so growing our own fuel is simply not achievable based on the numbers alone.
      GoodCheer
      • 1 Year Ago
      Apparently, the production cost of electricity in in Barbados is upwards of $0.65/kWh, and in fact the purchase price is subsidized by $0.45/kWh. At that rate, the operating price advantage of an EV is dubious, at best (though of course the price of gasoline is also high. On the other hand, with the pretty darn good solar resource in Barbados, the price of PV electricity could be a serious boon to their system. Pair some PV up with some regulated charging, and you've got a really cool system.
        Marcopolo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @GoodCheer
        @ GoodCheer While small Island nations may seem an obvious market for EV's, (and solar) it's difficult to introduce expensive new technology to nations with low per capita incomes. Island states like Barbados are suspicious of the effectiveness of Solar and Wind due to the incidences of gales, hurricanes, cyclones etc. But some Island states are proving to be successful for geothermal generation.
          Jean-Paul Skeete
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marcopolo
          Geothermal power capacity is akin to a natural resource like oil or gold. i.e. complete geographical luck of the draw. Solar is where its at, currently the irradiation from the sun reaching the earth's surface in 10,000 times our current needs. Also solar is one of the few RET's (renewable energy technologies) that can be generated on site (decentralized) as opposed to a costly and highly vulnerable centralized power generating plant.
          GoodCheer
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marcopolo
          But the point is, while PV seems like an expensive technology to me in the US and to you in Australia (IIRC) which have strong, efficient central grids, if you're paying $0.65/kWh from the 'grid', PV is actually dramatically inexpensive.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Megapower365 installs Solar carparks across Barbados to charge the growing fleet of EV's. They are Hurricane 3 rated and look pretty cool check us out on facebook.
        Marcopolo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ Megapower365 Yes, I congratulate Megapower365 on it's good work. However, any hurricane above force 3 is almost impossible to build solar and Wind capable of withstanding damage. Solar output in the 4-5 month cloudy rainy season is severely limited, and disappears at night ! It may be far more economic and environmental for Barbados to explore building a bio-mass generating plant, since that would also assist with the Islands growing sewerage problem, and dross from sugar cane cultivation.
      Exooc news
      • 1 Year Ago
      this is commitment of EU Island -Malta (300sunny days a year): https://plus.google.com/105427389435590421024/posts/Zv7TDNXghpX