First electric car could be In Guyana by mid-2019

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The first electric car in the public service could be in Guyana by mid next year, according to Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA), Dr Mahender Sharma.

The Government wants to test the feasibility of using electrical vehicles through a pilot project that will be run by the GEA.

Hybrid and electric vehicles were exempted in Budget 2017 from the payment of Excise Tax.

In his 2019 Budget Speech, Minister Winston Jordan announced a proposal to amend the Customs Act to include relief from Customs duty for cars with a capacity equivalent to 2000 cc in Watts and to waive the Excise Tax on all-electric motorcycles.

Dr Sharma said the design of electric cars Guyana is pursuing is the ones which use electricity only, and not the hybrid type.

For charging, what the GEA anticipates, he said is the use of solar power as the source of energy for charging.

The GEA will establish a charging station in the GEA compound.

He said Guyana is pursuing the use of electric cars because the transport sector accounts for about 30% of fossil fuel imports and so there is a huge opportunity to pursue greener technologies in the transport sector.

According to the GEA, a total of 5.5 million barrels of petroleum-based products was imported in 2016 representing about 15,156 barrels per day.

As such, Sharma said the pilot project is crucial.

“We haven’t made a statement that electric vehicles are the solution; what we want to do is understand the dynamics surrounding its charging and use,” Sharma said in an interview with the News Room.

“We need to satisfy ourselves that the technology works – that the technology is suited for our environment in Guyana.”

He noted that newer models of electric vehicles are boasting almost 240 kilometres on a single charge, while older models ran at 80-100 kilometres. In addition, he said there is rapid improvement in technology in battery storage.

The GEA headquarters in Quamina Street, Georgetown already fulfils 50% of its power needs through solar energy, and some of that will be utilised when the charging station is set up.

The project will be put to tender shortly, and once the first car begins the testing period by mid-2019, Dr Sharma anticipates that the GEA will be able to advise the government on the way forward by the end of 2019.

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