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First Electric Vehicle

At the keys handover: l-r: Deputy Postmaster General Operations Melissa Martinez-Ebanks, Acting Chief Officer Tristan Hydes, Postmaster General Sheena Glasgow, DVES Director Richard Simms and Deputy Director Stephen Quinland

The Cayman Islands Government welcomes the first fully electric vehicle to join its fleet today Wednesday, 23 December 2015.

The Nissan e-NV200 carries a lithium-ion 24kWh battery, with an electric motor. The average energy cost of powering the van, equates to approximately five US cents per mile. This is four to five times cheaper than diesel or gasoline.

Lithium-ion battery technology means that the van has an extended warranty period of five years. A normal charge on a 16 amp (220 volt) charger takes approximately eight hours (overnight). In 30 minutes, quick charging achieves 80% of the battery's capacity.

While the vehicle costs CI$36,520.00, statistics suggest that it is some 40% cheaper to maintain an e-NV200 in comparison to a diesel or gasoline vehicle. This is because there is no need to replace or repair traditional engine-related parts.

The Cayman Islands Postal Service (CIPS) will operate the van as part of government's electric vehicle pilot programme, which involves a targeted investment to incorporate electric vehicles and charging infrastructure into the fleet. This is the first step towards growing the number of electric vehicles in the fleet over time, and should help government agencies decrease petroleum consumption.

"I am pleased to receive the first fully electric vehicle for the government, and very glad that the Postal Service was selected to pilot this programme. We will use the van to deliver EMS and parcels in the George Town and West Bay Road areas," says Sheena Glasgow, Postmaster General. Ms Glasgow adds that the department will install a charging station to power the vehicle at the Airport Post Office.

The Nissan e-NV200 being deployed in the pilot is expected to annually save almost 1,000 gallons of gas and save government almost $4,000 in fuel costs.

Department of Vehicle and Equipment Services (DVES) Director Richard Simms explains, "In the next four to five years we hope to see a full payback on this initial investment. In addition to the fuel savings, we should see lower vehicle emissions and a better on-the-job experience for our mechanic."

The electric vehicle pilot supports the new vehicle standardisation policy approved by Cabinet this year by the utilization of new vehicle technology to assist in the overall reduction in CIG fuel expenditure.

Introducing electric vehicles to the fleet is part of government plans to protect the environment and to reduce dependence on imported oil.

Both DVES and CIPS are part of the Ministry of Planning. Praising the Postmaster General and the DVES Director for out-of-the-box thinking, Chief Officer Alan Jones remarks: "This is the start of a new era for the Postal Service, DVES and government as a whole. This vehicle has already been tested in service around the world by some large companies, and I am really looking forward to seeing the results of the local pilot project."

Vendor John Felder, Founder/CEO of Cayman Automotive Leasing and Sales, notes that the vehicle can be re-charged from any 110 outlet, and that his company has eight charge stations which cover West Bay to East End. In addition Mr Felder comments that plans are in place, via Sun Country Highway (a United States vendor of electronic vehicle products?), to educate all first responders in the Cayman Islands, regarding the safe handling of electric vehicles in the event of an accident."

Note to Editor:

The Department of Vehicle and Equipment (DVES) manages government's fleet of more than 850 vehicles. In addition it is responsible for procuring vehicles for government agencies.

Over the past two years, DVES has procured vehicles that were on average almost 25 percent more fuel-efficient than the vehicles they replaced. Between 2014 and 2015, DVES led the procurement of 133 vehicles in the government fleet without increasing the overall number of vehicles owned by the government.

In July 2015, DVES released a solicitation for bids for vehicles, which included electric or hybrid vehicles. The contract for the electric vehicle was awarded to Cayman Automotive, a local dealer of electric vehicles.