JPS opens first public electric vehicle charging station

THE Jamaica Public Service (JPS) Company Limited on Friday commissioned the first public electric vehicle charging station on the island.

The move signals the anticipated change in the tide of vehicle usage from the traditional internal combustion engine to electric vehicles (EVs). The EV charging station, dubbed the JPS Charge ‘N Go, is located at the Boot gas station in Drax Hall, St Ann, and features chargers with different specifications to cater to three different vehicle requirements.

Speaking at the event, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Daryl Vaz, quoted Global EV Outlook 2021, pointing out that “Despite the pandemic, electric vehicle registrations have increased by 41 per cent at the end of 2020. In the first quarter of 2021, global electric car sales have soared by almost 140 per cent when compared to the same period in 2020.”

This world trend was also acknowledged by JPS President & CEO Michel Gantois, who outlined some of the significant opportunities that the industry could bring to Jamaica. “The new electric mobility ecosystem is about all of Jamaica,” he said. “It’s about building new skill sets and providing new job opportunities for people to work in an emerging industry. With this electric mobility ecosystem we want to create internship opportunities for students; training opportunities for technicians and mechanics to service EVs…This ecosystem is also about creating innovative financing opportunities for persons who want to pursue new ventures in the EV industry…”

By year end five more EV charging stations will be in place, in both cities (Kingston and Montego Bay) as well as in other urban centres.

Unlike the traditional internal combustion engine, the electrical vehicle has very little under the hood and maintenance consists mostly of tyre and wiper blade changes a few times per year, if so often. Electric vehicles are also environmentally friendly, as they emit little or no carbon emissions.

Another significant benefit of electric vehicles is that they are cheaper to operate than gas-powered vehicles. As an example, if you drive a compact car from Kingston to St Ann it may cost you $2,000 in gas compared to $450 in electricity charge, with a comparable compact car like the Nissan Leaf. Electric vehicles are 30 – 50 per cent cheaper to operate than gas or diesel, industry officials have said.

This competitive advantage, combined with the fact that some car manufacturers have already signalled their intention to stop manufacturing traditional (internal combustion) vehicles, is a clear indication that the next wave of vehicles will be electric.

Wayne Boothe, owner/operator of Boot gas station, was delighted to partner with JPS on the historic occasion, noting that the complex was well-suited to accommodate the cutting edge development in the transport sector.

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