Wed | Jul 6, 2022

ATL Automotive goes electric

New EV line-up, charging station map of Jamaica coming

Published:Sunday | April 24, 2022 | 12:06 AM

The ATL Automotive building, Oxford Road, New Kingston.
The ATL Automotive building, Oxford Road, New Kingston.

ATL Automotive, a distributor of multiple car brands, is getting more serious about the electric vehicle market. Ahead of a big expansion of the number of EVs dealerships in the group will offer to customers, the company is launching a site online...

ATL Automotive, a distributor of multiple car brands, is getting more serious about the electric vehicle market.

Ahead of a big expansion of the number of EVs dealerships in the group will offer to customers, the company is launching a site online called ‘It’s Electric’ that provides a range of information on vehicle availability, technical information, financing, access to charging units,and more, according to the company.

Jamaica’s EV market is in its infancy, with limited interest from car buyers who are put off by the cost of the vehicles and wary of the culture shift they represent for a motoring population that trusts gas-fuelled engines for travel over a distance and question whether electric batteries can deliver the same performance.

Still, the world is starting to transition to battery EVs while fazing out combustion engines, giving auto dealers little choice but to fall in line.

“There is a lack of information about EVs, as well as some myths, so our website will act as a resource centre where persons can arm themselves with information to make informed decisions,” said Managing Director of ATL Automotive Patrick Wilson.

The company is also partnering with National Commercial Bank on loan financing for EVs, with General Accident for auto insurance, and Evergo Jamaica and Solar Buzz Jamaica for charging of the vehicles.

The aim, said Marketing Manager Christina Taylor, is to create unique packages for ATL Automotive Group customers, including preferential rates for financing and insurance as well as charging convenience.

The investment being made was not disclosed.

“The spend is a constant moving target, but we’re not scared of investing at ATL,” said Taylor. “We do that to satisfy our customers and build Jamaica at the same time.”

ATL will be adding five EV models to its portfolio: The Honda HRV arrives in June, the Audi RS e-tron GT, Mini and BMWi4 will all arrive by July, and the Porsche Taycan in September.

Charging stations will be established at ATL locations at Bogue in Montego Bay, at Oxford Road in New Kingston, and the Porsche dealership, also in New Kingston, adding to the two units long installed at the ATL-connected AC Marriott Hotel in New Kingston, which already support a number of hybrids, including the Mini Countryman, BMW X3 and BMW X5 plug hybrids or PHEVs. AC Marriott also sits next door to ATL’s Mini and BMW dealerships.

Vehicle charging to ATL customers will be free but under controlled access. ATL will also continue to work with their solar energy partner, Solar Buzz, to provide customers with in-home charging solutions or units installed at a location of their choice.

At present, there are around 500 hybrid EVs and full EVs operating in Jamaica. The Government has cut the duties on EVs from 30 per cent to 10 per cent over five years to bring down the cost of purchase for car buyers but has confined the concessions to 1,000 vehicles per year.

The ATL platform will feature a charging map of Jamaica.

“With that, EV owners will be able to know the locations of ATL, Evergo, and JPS charging stations. In addition, it will calculate distance to guide EV motorists and help calm their range anxiety,” Taylor said.

The site was to go live on Saturday.

- neville.graham@gleanerjm.com