Electric cars not a new phenomenon

  • Electric cars: the Twizy car is not the first electric vehicle on Barmuda (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Electric cars: the Twizy car is not the first electric vehicle on Barmuda (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Electric-powered cars are all the rage in Bermuda — but the first vehicle of the type was introduced to the island more than 20 years ago.

Lawyer Jeffrey Elkinson bought a test vehicle in 1995 and six years later businessman Tom McFarlane set up the island’s first electric car dealership.

Mr McFarlane, now based in Canada, said: “Jeffrey Elkinson had one that Bermuda Motors brought in 1995 as a test vehicle and he had an interest when I started importing electric cars and bought one from me.

“I was the first with an electric car registered dealership. I liked the novelty of electric vehicles.

“I was away at a trade show in Las Vegas and saw there was potential for them — Bermuda was the perfect spot for it.”

Mr McFarlane added: “There’s the environmental benefits number one — zero emissions — and then high cost of fuel in Bermuda. You can get a full tank in an electric vehicle for $1.70 or $1.80.

“Emissions were a big thing back then and TCD was going through a transformation at the time, testing emissions and forming new regulations on vehicles, the timing almost couldn’t have been any better.

“Unfortunately, the models were discontinued and no longer available.

“I looked at other avenues but I was in the process of leaving the island and bringing my sons back to Canada at that time so I didn’t push too hard with it.”

Mr McFarlane said: “Bermuda is the perfect spot for a testing ground because of the small size of the island.

“It was on the cutting edge back then. They were putting them out in the market at about the time I was getting hold of them — it’s all about the timing.”

Interest in low-pollution vehicles has rocketed in recent times and several electric models were showcased at the Bermuda Energy Summit in November.

The electric vehicle showcase was run by the Department of Energy in collaboration with vehicle dealers.

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Published Jan 6, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 5, 2018 at 11:11 pm)

Electric cars not a new phenomenon

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