It’s electric! No gas required
Interest in all-electric vehicles is increasing in Bermuda, with a number of vendors reporting sales or higher numbers of enquiries from potential customers.
And businesses that have brought the vehicles to the island are confident more people will switch to the electric option in the future as they become more familiar with the technology.
An electric vehicle showcase was held on the Regency Terrace at the Hamilton Princess yesterday. It was hosted by the Bermuda Government's Department of Energy in collaboration with various vendors. The event tied in with the Bermuda Energy Summit, which was staged at the hotel.
Among the vehicles on display was the Bermi, which is marketed as Bermuda's “people's car”. It was the most compact of the electric vehicles on show, other than the rental market Twizys.
The minicars have been brought to the island by Mike Swan, of Localmotion. Costing $14,800 for the two-seat version, and $16,900 for the four-seater, the Bermi is a runaround capable of travelling up to 80 miles between full charges. It takes six to eight hours to fully recharge on a 110v supply, or half that time using 220v.
Mr Swan hopes the minicars will also soon be given the green light for use by the rental market.
“Interest has been off the charts — from hotels and private individuals — and we haven't advertised the cars yet,” he said, explaining that 30 people have been lined up to go on test drives.
“Bermuda, with its short commuting distances, is perfect for electric cars. We could be a leader in the world with totally electric vehicles.”
Auto Solutions displayed a new all-electric commercial van, the Nissan e-NV200, which has a full-charge range of 105 miles. The company is also offering the Nissan Leaf, an electric family car with a full charge range of up to 155 miles.
Harry Andrews, sales and operations manager, said running costs and maintenance bills for the vehicles would be halved compared to gas models.
The company has sold about ten of the Nissan Leafs, and it has interest from a further 20 potential buyers.
Mr Andrews is confident electric vehicles will be successful in Bermuda. He said it would be an educational process for people to become comfortable with the technology, pointing out the argument for electric vehicles is both economical, in terms of cost savings, and environmental.
Auto Solutions is offering a service where it will install a home-based recharging facility for electric vehicle purchasers.
Mr Andrews and Sam Dale, a technician at Auto Solutions who has undergone electric vehicle training with Nissan in Mexico City, believe recharging ports around the island will quickly become more common place.
A number of the island's hotels already have electric vehicle recharging facilities available.
Mr Andrews said electric vehicles are “a wave” that is going to come to Bermuda, and it will be about building people's understanding and confidence in the vehicles.
Also on display were electric motorbikes, including a model constructed in Bermuda by Team Oni Racing Club.
Alex Marshall, sales and marketing director at Torc, pointed out the electric bikes save about $2,000 on running and maintenance costs per year and reduce noise pollution. He said electric bikes, which have a full charge range of about 60 miles, can be recharged in six hours at a cost of less than $1.
Renault was represented at the showcase event with a regular-size electric car and a minicar Twizy, while Bermuda Motors had a BMW i3 and electric Kias on display.
Andrew Rance, service manager at Bermuda Motors, said: “It's great to see the different models and the new technologies all in one place.
“The interest is picking up and people are getting more educated [about electric vehicles].”