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(CNS Business): Local businessman and auto trader, John Felder, has spent many years campaigning to get electric vehicles on Cayman’s roads and despite further delays to the implementation of the traffic law the Cayman Automotive owner says 2012 will be the year of the “electrics”. Already the exclusive Cayman dealer for a number of eco-vehicles, he recently signed a new agreement with AMP Electric vehicles to become their exclusive Caribbean dealer. AMP is an electric vehicle company specializing in truck conversions and the agreement gives Felder the exclusive retail and fleet distribution rights in Jamaica, St John, St Thomas, St Kitts, Bermuda, the Bahamas and Barbados, as well as here in Cayman.
The first of these new converted eco-SUVs are expected to be delivered to Cayman in time for this summer’s electric vehicle auto show.
As Felder expands his “electric empire”, he remains hopeful that he is now just weeks away from mounting the final hurdle and 2012 will really be the year when these cars finally hit the road. The minute Cabinet gives the green light to the regulations, Felder said, a range of his electric cars will be driving onto the highway.
“I can’t wait for people to see these vehicles finally on Cayman’s roads and see just how fantastic they are,” he said. Felder is convinced that once people start driving the diverse range of vehicles now available, any remaining reservations drivers have about electric cars will be gone.
Both economical and eco- friendly, especially when charged using solar power, the cars are ideal for the Cayman Islands, where the cost of fuel is high but the sun is free. It has been a long time coming, however. Late last year government passed the long-awaited and widely welcomed new traffic law, which covers a range of issues, including the legalization of electric vehicles on the highway. The delay in the accompanying regulations, however, means it is not yet legal to drive an all-electric car on the roads in the Cayman Islands.
Felder has remained entirely optimistic and committed to the cause for most of the last decade, purchasing the cars long before the law made it through the country’s parliament and partnering with the relevant dealers and experts to bring the solar charging stations (the first of which is in Governor’s Square) and he continues to wait patiently for the big day, which he says he knows is just around the corner.
Speaking about the latest model soon to arrive, Bill Policastro, CEO of U-Go Stations Cayman Ltd, Felder’s partner in the company formed with Cayman Automotive to promote the AMV’s and develop the EV charging infrastructure across the island, says the 100% electric AMP SUVs have a driving range of about 100 miles. “Currently EVs sold (in Cayman) are either subcompact or compact sized. The introduction of AMP’s SUVs will give our dealers a distinct competitive advantage.”
Felder also revealed that JE Automotive Leasing Ltd, a division of Cayman Automotive Leasing Ltd, will be offering the Wheego for rent once the regulations are approved. “This will represent the very first time in the Caribbean that such a service is being offered to tourist and the community in the Cayman Islands,” Felder said. “The first two locations will be in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac, which will be followed with a third location in Little Cayman.”
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