Monday 21 Jun 2021

Driving Green in the Caribbean highlighted part 1

Driving Green – better defined as owning or driving an Electrical Vehicle (EVs) has become a lifestyle for some global communities. A positive feature which is spreading throughout the globe at a certain but steady pace. A case in point for the Caribbean to slowly become a location where innovative new technologies are being trialled. This change offers this region and its tourism industry comparative advantages.

That said, electric cars still do not make sense everywhere in the Caribbean. There is the need to overcome a number of constraints of both a practical and local nature if EVs are to become a part of the Caribbean’s marketing offer, whether for tourism or in relation to the way in which governments present the region internationally as an all but zero carbon emitter. The biggest obvious challenge is technical, but likely to be overcome before too long as almost every major motor manufacturer is working on moving beyond hybrids to full EVs that will have greater range between charging and higher speeds.

From a regional perspective, however, the challenges relate to recharging, taxation and those with vested interests in maintaining the status quo. Most vehicles presently available in the Caribbean have a range of around 100 miles / 160 kilometres making the development of recharging points essential. This ideally requires the development of solar panel recharging centres, costs to fall, and solar to be incentivised and encouraged.

However, the biggest obstacle to developing a greener presence are very high import duties on EVs and related equipment and governments’ reluctance to show the leadership or vision that would enable tourism dependent nations in the Eastern Caribbean to capture internationally media attention and visitor imagination. Hoteliers in one way or another are anxious to establish their green credentials so as to demonstrate to clients that not only are their properties eco-friendly but also they are actively engaged in improving the Caribbean environment. In this context many larger Caribbean properties have been using for some years now variations on electric golf carts to move clients, bags, staff, and catering around their properties.

Perhaps as a first step, properties that want to go further to demonstrate they are taking global warming seriously should consider making use of true EVs for short visitor journeys to airports, cruise ports or local attractions.

Next time: The first Caribbean ECO entrepreneur in our series

In the weeks to come we will point out a few Caribbean based companies who already are contributing to doing business in a sustainable way while considering their environment.

Author: Cee
Posted: Week 23 - 2016
Blog post: 160299

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