Hybrids in demand; electric vehicle sales are slowly increasing – Barbados Today

Barbadians’ appetite for hybrid vehicles is growing even in light of the country’s push for greater use of electric vehicles, and Central Bank Governor Cleviston Haynes expects demand to pick up due to the reduction in import tariffs which came into effect on Monday.

Noting that transport was a focal point for Barbados in its quest to transition to 100% reliance on renewable energy sources by 2030, Haynes expressed concern that if demand for electric vehicles was also increasing, it was still very slow.

According to Central Bank data, there was a peak in battery electric vehicles in the third quarter of 2020. However, since 2021, hybrid vehicles have been in greater demand.

“The amount of renewable energy vehicles as a share of total imported vehicles has steadily increased over the past two years, averaging around 17% of all imported cars,” the Bank said. central.

“However, this growth is mainly related to an increase in domestic demand for hybrid vehicles. Of the total imported alternative energy vehicles, 74.6% were hybrids, 24.7% were battery electric vehicles and the rest were fuel cell or natural gas vehicles,” he noted. .

Responding to a question when the data was recently released regarding the island’s push towards meeting its 2030 energy target in just about seven and a half years, Haynes refrained from saying that the island might not reach its goal.

“I think we still have a ways to go,” he said, pointing out that the data showed Barbados did not have a high volume of electric vehicles.

“We have more hybrids…and so there’s a long way to go to make that transition.

“In terms of renewable energy, I think about nine percent of the electricity produced comes from renewables. I always say it’s a very ambitious plan, but we have to start somewhere. What is essential is to be able to gain momentum. We kind of started slowly, but we need to be able to build momentum with the increased installation of PV [systems] to increase that number significantly,” Haynes explained.

However, with lower tariffs to accelerate the phasing out of fossil fuel use by 2030, the import of hybrid and electric vehicles is expected to increase.

In her budget presentation in mid-March this year, Prime Minister and Finance Minister Mia Mottley announced that effective August 1, 2022, there would be an excise tax and value tax holiday. added (VAT) for the purchase of electric vehicles and a reduction in imports. duty on used electric vehicles at 10 percent.

The tariff on battery-electric and solar-powered vehicles – new and used – will be reduced to 10%. The tax relief must remain in effect for two years.

Mottley later confirmed that import duties on hybrids will also be lowered, but not to the same level as electric vehicles.

“The incentives are expected to increase the ratio of imported electric and hybrid vehicles,” the Central Bank reported.

“Transport is a central point of the transition. In 2018, the Department of Energy estimated that 33% of the energy consumed was in the transport sector. The government’s transition to electric vehicles complements private sector efforts, but adoption has been slow,” the report said.

It is estimated that there are just over 400 electric vehicles on the roads of Barbados, out of over 120,000 vehicles in circulation. It is not known how many hybrids are used.

Statistics from the Barbados Statistical Service revealed that the island recorded the highest number of imports of renewable energy vehicles imported in the last three months of 2021, when comparing 2019 to the first quarter of 2022.

Another breakdown showed that for the last quarter of 2021, the number of battery electric vehicles accounted for 23% of all vehicles imported. Hybrids accounted for 77 percent.

For the first quarter of 2022, the number of imported battery electric vehicles accounted for 27% of all vehicles, while hybrid vehicles accounted for the remaining 73%.

Haynes said he believes there is a need for greater commercialization of electric vehicles nationally.

Regarding renewable energy from photovoltaic systems, the data presented indicates that on average between 2017 and 2021, the quantity of these imported systems increased by 76%.

“Over the past five years, the amount of renewable energy generated by customers has gradually increased from 20 gigawatt hours (GwH) in 2017 to 69 GwH. An increase in investment by companies and individuals in the installation of photovoltaic systems is responsible for this expansion. At the end of 2021, the total estimated energy consumed by customers was 904 GwH, of which around 9% was generated from renewable energy sources,” the Central Bank data shows.

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