On my recent family holiday to the Caribbean, we had only been in Barbados for less than an hour when we saw our first Nissan LEAF. Over the course of the next week, we saw plenty more, and eNV200’s too.
Barbados is reliant on imported fuel for both road vehicles, and also to generate electricity, but a company called Megapower has introduced both solar-energy-generating car ports, and also the world’s best selling EV – the Nissan LEAF – to the island as a way of reducing this gasoline dependency.
In many ways, the LEAF is an ideal car for the island – it has a range of around 200km, which is no problem since the island is only 34km long and 23km wide – a day’s driving can be completed very easily with plenty of range to spare. Solar power is also very suited to the island – typically there are 12 hours of sunshine daily throughout the year, with temperatures always around 20 and 30 °C.
Together, the two technologies could be about to change the face of transport in Barbados. Megapower has sold over 120 Nissan LEAF on the island in the past couple of years, with increasing awareness and well placed social-media messages spreading the word. Megapower also supplies the solar-charging car ports, as well as the wall-mounted chargers for conventional grid installations. There is a developing network of public “quick” charge points, and plans to introduce rapid chargers within the next couple of months.
They are also now making inroads to other Caribbean islands, with Grenada, St Lucia, and Aruba all ready to jump on the EV-bandwagon.
Sadly, my hire car on the island was a conventional 1.2 litre Petrol Automatic Hyundai i10 – a fair drop in performance, size, and comfort compared to my LEAF Tekna back in Blighty. But surely it can’t be too long before we get a zero emission option from the car rental firms on the islands – because the LEAF has much lower servicing costs, better reliability, and a much improved driving experience than the cars they’re currently offering!