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Car dealers lobby for bigger electric cars

The Hyundai Ionique 5 - an example of an electric car with “vehicle to load“ technology (Image from online)

Car dealers are hopeful that new technology for electric and hybrid cars and a greater selection of models will be available under proposals for changes to the law.

The changes would allow new forms of green technology to be used on Bermuda’s roads – including electric cars that can be plugged into a home to supply power at night.

Industry sources, who asked not to be identified while discussions continue with the Government, said Wayne Furbert, the transport minister, was examining recommendations for slighter wider vehicles than are currently permitted by law.

A Ministry of Transport spokesman said: “The ministry has held productive meetings with stakeholders, including car dealers, regarding electric vehicles.

“In the coming weeks, the ministry will begin a public consultation on the future use of zero-emission vehicles in Bermuda.”

The industry sources said amending restrictions for non-gasoline vehicles would significantly broaden uptake of electric cars and potentially cut the island’s carbon output.

One told The Royal Gazette: “At the end of the day, the problem is that most electric cars being made right now are too big for Bermuda – although it’s not by too much.

“We have been petitioning for a change for electric and hybrid cars only. The Premier has announced the phasing out of the sale of gasoline cars by 2035, which is going to reduce the availability of vehicles.

“The thinking is that we will need some sort of a concession so that people will have more choice in going electric.”

Another said the change could allow residents access to “vehicle to load” technology, or V2L, which effectively turns an electric car into mobile energy storage.

“V2L cars allow houses with solar panels to charge the cars during the day and then run their houses off the car’s battery at night – instead of using Belco.”

The source added: “A number of V2L cars are only slightly larger – wider – than current restrictions allow, so there is no real reason not to make this adjustment as far as I can tell.”

Legislators passed the Electricity Amendment Act in June to encourage the development of alternative energy in Bermuda and Walter Roban, the home affairs minister, has underscored the island’s commitment to cutting its carbon footprint.

Under the existing regime with electric cars, charging a vehicle from the power grid does not completely reduce carbon because the electricity is produced from the burning of fossil fuels at the power company.

Industry insiders said both Lawrence Scott, the former minister, and Wayne Furbert, who now holds the portfolio for transport, had met auto dealers to discuss the issue.

Mr Scott was said to have contacted dealerships last year requesting details to “get a feel for how much to increase size restrictions”.

Phasing out the sale of and importation of gasoline-burning cars was proposed in the Throne Speech in November.

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Published January 23, 2023 at 11:17 am (Updated January 23, 2023 at 11:17 am)

Car dealers lobby for bigger electric cars

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