Sun | May 16, 2021

Fesco eyes EV charging market as the future

Published:Wednesday | April 14, 2021 | 5:36 AM

Future Energy Source Company Limited, operators of the Fesco gas station brand, is weighing the addition of charging stations for electric vehicles to its national network, a project that would be executed over three to five years. The petroleum...

Future Energy Source Company Limited, operators of the Fesco gas station brand, is weighing the addition of charging stations for electric vehicles to its national network, a project that would be executed over three to five years.

The petroleum marketing company would need to strike an agreement with Jamaica Public Service Company Limited, JPS, which has exclusive rights over the distribution of electricity in Jamaica, in order to execute that plan.

“The name ‘future’ in Fesco is not by chance. We are looking beyond selling gasolene, as our core business, towards energy itself. Consequently, electric vehicle charging is something that we have discussed several times,” said Fesco Chairman Lyden ‘Trevor’ Heaven. “JPS would have to install and maintain the charging stations and as station operators, we would more than likely act as a commissioned agent,” he said.

It is in the early stages of investigating the EV kiosks. Jamaica’s electric vehicle market is itself a tiny portion of the auto market, and is mainly confined to hybrids. But prospects for the market, including full or battery EVs, are expected to open up in the coming years. The push is being enabled by both the government which, while still working through policy issues, is actively pro-EV, and backed by the Inter-American Development Bank, which JPS is working with on building out the market structure and installation of publicly available EV charging stations.

On the supply side, around 500 EV models are projected to be on the global market by 2022 as automakers make good on their plans to begin the switch from fuel-powered to electric vehicles. For now, Tesla remains the only automaker whose business model focuses on EVs only.

Fesco, which just executed an initial offering of shares, or IPO, on the Jamaica Stock Exchange and is soon to list on the junior market, has not disclosed a budget to roll out its EV kiosks, but said it would be looking to a mix of debt and equity to finance the project.

“Our growth trajectory has significant earning potential for our new and existing shareholders,” said Heaven, “so we will aggressively pursue what is in their best interest.”

Heaven said the company would initially set up kiosks at Fesco’s Mandela Highway and Beechwood Avenue locations in Kingston to test their viability before moving towards a more widespread roll-out.

“We are looking at fast- and slow-charging stations. The fast charge takes approximately 30 minutes,” the chairman said.

The company currently operates 16 gas stations nationwide and generates nearly $7 billion in annual revenue, and is in the process of expanding. Another of its growth initiatives is the installation of liquefied natural gas filling stations for fleet vehicles, around which discussions are ongoing, Heaven said.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com