Five mechanics at the Department of Vehicle and Equipment Services (DVES) in the Ministry of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure are currently undergoing training in electric vehicle safety and service at the Department’s headquarters at North Sound Road in Grand Cayman.
The training, which started on Wednesday, December 11, is first in a series of sessions being provided by government to equip DVES mechanics with the skills to service electric vehicles as it seeks to transition its fleet in the years ahead.
Minister of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure, Hon. Joey Hew, who visited DVES and spoke with the participants, stated that increasing the share of fuel efficient energy and hybrid vehicles in the fleet of the Cayman Islands is an important strategy under the National Energy Policy.
“We will see more and more electric vehicles joining the government fleet over the coming years as part of the National Energy Policy is the conversion of 30% of our fleet to electric vehicles by 2027. The training we are providing is vital because our staff must be prepared to service and maintain those vehicles,” Minister Hew said.
The training is being conducted by Alan Nagal, a certified vehicle electrification professional at Cayman Automotive. Some of the topics being covered during the 16 hour training session include advantages and benefits of electric vehicles over internal combustion engines, components of electric powertrain, design and construction of electric vehicles, electric vehicle high voltage safety, operation and function of a regenerative braking system, among other areas.
Mechanic Shop Supervisor and participant Adar Ebanks said that the training is timely as it is the direction that the government is going. “To be safe with the servicing of the electric vehicles, we have to be properly trained so this is a good initiative,” he said.
Other mechanics who are participating in the training sessions are Brandon Thompson, Lionel Frederick, John McLean and Lloyd Garrison.
Earlier this year, the Minister of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure announced incentives to encourage more environmentally friendly vehicle ownership across the Islands. Electric vehicles, which cost $29,999 or below, now attract zero tariffs to consumers importing such vehicles for personal use. Individuals importing hybrid vehicles, of $29,999 or below value, for personal use now pay 10% in import tariffs.
Those importing commercial vehicles pay tariffs for electric and hybrid vehicles as low as 5% and 12% respectively. Bicycles no longer attract any customs duties, as do electric motor cycles and electric bicycles.
The Ministry of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure also recently appointed Kristen Augustine as Energy Policy Coordinator to assist the Ministry to deliver mission critical initiatives under the National Energy Policy.