April 8, 2021
“If Jamaica were to electrify 12 to 16% of its private and public fleets, the economy would benefit from approximately 2% of the GDP.” This recent revelation came from Therese Turner-Jones, the General Manager of the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) Country Department Caribbean Group and Jamaica Country Representative. Ms. Turner-Jones was speaking at the recent launch of the project led by the JPS Foundation and IDB’s Lab, for Building a Sustainable Electric Mobility Ecosystem for Inclusion and Access in Jamaica. With Jamaica’s GDP in 2020 being US$14.23B, this puts the potential benefit of this level of electric vehicle (EV) usage at a saving of up to US$284M.
The short to medium term objectives of the project include the introduction of 200 Battery Electric Vehicles in Jamaica; training of 400 individuals in maintenance and safety practices related to this technology; and support for 15 innovative green business models with the potential for meaningful job creation.
Turner-Jones also noted that the IDB is supporting governments in over 15 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean, to establish the ecosystem for deployment of electric mobility. Elaborating on this effort, she explained that through a $1.5 million US Dollar grant from the Japanese Government, the IDB and the IDB Lab are supporting the Government of Jamaica, to establish among things: the fiscal and regulatory framework; deployment of EVs to understand the Business Model and raise public awareness; and reskilling of the workforce which can generate new ventures such as a battery recycle market.
“I am pleased to say that the Ministry of Finance supports the fiscal regime proposed so we have a strong commitment between the government and the private sector to accelerate the EV agenda,” she disclosed. She also shared that the IDB is working with the Ministry of Transport and the Jamaica Urban Transit Corporation, to develop a battery electric bus pilot.
Pointing to an example in Barbados, Turner-Jones noted that the small eastern Caribbean state is leading in early adoption of electric vehicles, with lower import duties for electric vehicles (at 10%), while vehicles with internal combustion engines attract import duties of 45%. Also, that island is the first to bring in 33 electric buses in addition to the over 400 private electric vehicles and 85 charging stations already in operation.
The signs for a robust electric vehicle market in Jamaica are promising, with not only potential financial savings, and development of a new local service industry, but also a significantly cleaner environment.