The Government’s Electric Vehicle (EV) Trial programme, now under way, will assist in converting many state-owned fleets to EVs.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness made the announcement while emphasising that this comes as the Electric Mobility Policy for the public transportation sector has been completed.

He was speaking at a ceremony to launch the programme, held at the Jaguar/Land Rover Showroom on Arthur Wint Drive in St Andrew last Friday.

There, the keys for the Build Your Dreams (BYD) electric vehicles, were handed over by Stewart’s Automotive Group and EV distributors, Flash Motors Company Limited, for five Government ministries to test drive for six weeks.

They are the Ministries of Transport and Mining; Finance and the Public Service; Science, Energy and Technology and two others that are yet to be confirmed.

Holness lauded the trial programme as one which will “give policymakers a first-hand understanding of what it means to drive and use an electric vehicle.”

“So, you want the policymakers to have an appreciation and so having the vehicles in the ministries to be tested… I think that’s very useful for the implementation of the policy,” he stated.

He further pointed out that the programme will assist in the government’s data gathering, while it builds out an “ecosystem around electric vehicles.”

“It is not intended that consumers on their own, decide to bring in an EV and we don’t have provisions for charging [or] understand how those vehicles work specific to the Jamaican terrain,” he said.

“The government can accelerate this by being a ‘first mover’ and the creator of a critical mass of demand. Once our policymakers become advocates for electric vehicles, then you will start to see [acceleration] because there is a genuine belief that this is the right direction to go,” he continued.

On that note, he further commended the private sector for its investment in the “electric mobility ecosystem.”

“We are seeing private sector initiative and investments in charging stations, training and the coming together for the repair and maintenance of the vehicles,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Stewart’s Automotive Group is the only dealership that currently supplies Electric Vehicles in the country.

The company has so far sold approximately 20 vehicles, with an estimated amount of 100 remaining in stock.

Flash Motors Company Limited is the only EV distributor in the country.

It will continue to partner with the Automotive Group and the Government for the expansion of the industry.