No octane for Kelly
Kelly Tomblin is leading the charge - literally - to bring Jamaicans up to speed on the efficiency of electric/hybrid vehicles as a practical motoring option.
For years, the Jamaican Public Service (JPS) chief executive officer drove an electric/hybrid while living in the United States of America (USA). "It's one that really just charges itself through gas, meaning you can't plug it and charge the battery. Your battery has to be charged while driving," Tomblin explained.
Now, she drives a Mitsubishi Outlander which requires being plugged in to recharge. It took some doing to get the vehicle into Jamaica. But it was well worth the effort, according to Tomblin, who is positioning the JPS to become the premier energy solutions company in the Caribbean.
She is confident that as young people embrace a slew of technological innovations they will begin to opt for hybrids over traditional gasolene engines. "It is part of our mission revision to bring new and innovative technologies, whatever they may be. We don't want to be in the space where there is an option that's in another country that's not in ours, meaning prepaid meters, electric vehicles, smart grid, whatever is coming down the path," she said.
Assessment of the Outlander will provide all the energy information to fuel the demand for electric/hybrid vehicles by providing accurate answers to typical potential driver queries such as how much charge have you used, does it drive okay, do you feel safe and what is your overall rating.
DEVELOPING A POLICY
When the answers to these questions come in, they should generate enough excitement to spark meaningful national discourse on electric/hybrid motoring options. It is hoped to be to the extent that the Government will begin to become more involved in the process of promoting them, as it strives to develop a national environmental policy.
The use of the electric/hybrid vehicles is one component of JPS's thrust to help Jamaicans and policymakers understand and appreciate the full cycle of a comprehensive energy solutions strategy.
"I always point that out it's well established that energy forms the basis of economic development and wellness, meaning health. So a lot of the work we do is in recognition of the whole goal for all of us, which I think is economic prosperity. So it's really brand setting as much as it is testing the vehicle," Tomblin said.
"They are not going to change it unless there is demand. They won't change the legislation until there is demand for it. My job is to create demand and people want options - that's really what we are about."