Megapower Drives Positive Change

By

Keith Miller

January 18, 2022

While small island states at the frontline of climate impact may be too small to significantly reverse climate change on a grand global scale, they can still lead by example and demonstrate that change is both necessary and possible. In the case of Barbados, in line with its mandate to become 100% renewable and carbon neutral by 2030, the country has enthusiastically embraced the introduction of all-electric vehicles. Such has been the success of this transformational shift away from fossil-fuel powered cars, that Barbados has been recognised as a significant pioneer in the indispensable quest to ‘go green go electric’.

At the forefront of driving that change towards electric mobility has been Megapower Limited, a Barbadian private sector company that has been operating a specialist Electric Vehicle (EV) garage since 2013. In their early start-up days, Megapower successfully entered the market by supplying affordable ex-demonstrator and second-hand EVs, primarily the Nissan LEAF. Committed to promoting the uptake of EVs that can be powered by renewable sources, the company simultaneously set about rolling out a nationwide network of publicly accessible charging points. Today there are 35 charging points, all located in well-lit carparks as close as possible to the entrance of buildings, shopping centres, restaurants, hotels, and similar places with ample amenities and facilities to enjoy whilst recharging.

Megapower charging station

Conscious that accessibility and affordability are especially important in the area of climate change - since upfront costs for energy conservation or alternatives to fossil fuels can be prohibitive – Megapower works closely with finance and insurance companies in Barbados to help make EV uptake more affordable. As a consequence, the interest rate for financing electric vehicles has dropped from 8% in 2013 to as low as 3.5% in 2021, which is in line with internal combustion engine vehicles. In a similar vein, vehicle owners previously spending US$300 per month in gas or diesel, are now able to spend just US$100 per month on electricity, while covering the same distance. Furthermore, electric vehicles can support the grid by refuelling from renewable solar energy.

By demonstrating that electric vehicles are suitable for everyone, Megapower has almost single-handedly changed the driving landscape in Barbados. In addition to the original Nissan LEAF, the company now also distributes for two other major manufacturers, BYD Automobile and SAIC Motor Corporation Limited. As such, their product offerings have expanded to include electric SUVs, electric passenger and panel vans, and electric buses. Megapower has also brought back to Barbados the famous British car marque MG. Since its introduction in May 2020, the MG ZS, a mid-size electric SUV, has rapidly gained a top sales position in the island.

Another, even more significant development took place in 2020 when the Government of Barbados introduced electric buses into its Transport Board fleet, with the intention of gradually replacing the entire complement of vehicles. Currently numbering 49 and expected to grow to 59 in the next 6 months, Barbados has the largest public electric bus fleet in the Caribbean.

Fleet of Barbados Transport Board electric buses

These state-of-the-art vehicles are equipped with data systems that can monitor the driver’s performance and charging cycles. And, from the all-important perspective of passenger comfort, the new buses can deliver a whole range of ‘firsts’, including disability access, mother and child seating, air-conditioning, charging outlets for mobile devices, and free wi-fi.

So, while visiting Barbados, you too will be able to ride on one of our nice new electric buses. Or, if you want to go a step further and drive your own electric vehicle, Megapower has established a relationship with Voyager Rent-A-Car and GO Car Investments Inc. to offer EV rental options.

Things to do

From swimming with sea turtles, partying under the stars, exploring the rugged east coast to enjoying the island’s duty free shopping, Barbados has something for everyone.