Sat | Nov 27, 2021

Vaz: Jamaica won’t be left behind in EV thrust

Published:Wednesday | March 24, 2021 | 12:08 AM

Science, Energy and Technology Minister Daryl Vaz says the Government is advancing legislation and building out the infrastructure that will support and facilitate fulsome electric vehicle (EV) introduction in Jamaica.

“As a Government, we are cognisant that electric vehicles are the future, and many global automakers have already begun ramping up their production. We must, therefore, move quickly, both in creating the [supporting] legislative framework and necessary physical infrastructure,” Vaz said.

Speaking during a Jamaica Public Service (JPS) Foundation-IDB electric mobility (e-mobility) digital forum on Thursday, Vaz cited energy industry forecasts indicating that by 2022, more than 500 different EV models will be available globally.

Further, that by 2040, more than half of the passenger vehicles sold will be electrically powered.

Against this background, the energy and technology minister advised that the JPS Foundation plans to deploy 12 EV charging stations under phase two of the ‘Building a Sustainable Electric Mobility Ecosystem for Inclusion and Access Project’, the first of which is slated to be commissioned in April.

The three-year project, which was launched in 2020 and is being funded by the IDB Lab, aims to ensure greater involvement by small businesses and other key stakeholders in the expansion of electric mobility in Jamaica.

It is also intended to create opportunities for the owners and operators of small and medium-sized enterprises and their employees in the EV value chain.

Vaz highlighted the Government’s National Energy Policy, which he said speaks to the need for Jamaicans to use energy wisely.

He noted that in light of road and rail transportation accounting for more than 30 per cent of Jamaica’s petroleum consumption, “greater effort must be made to diversify our vehicle offerings, while reducing our carbon footprint and dependence on imported fuels”.

Vaz said the IDB has indicated that if Jamaica’s internal combustion engine vehicle fleet continues to grow at the current pace, it will undermine all the gains being made to reduce oil consumption via energy efficiency and fuel diversification, stressing that “we cannot allow this to happen”.

Consequently, he expressed satisfaction that “through our partnerships, both locally and internationally, Jamaica will not be left behind in this regard”.