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by James Whittaker for the CayCompass
Tourists will have the opportunity to rent an eco-friendly electric car in Cayman for the first time from March.
Budget has bought a Wheego vehicle from distributor Cayman Automotive Leasing and Sales, which has also sold electric vehicles to rental companies in Turks and Caicos, and St. Thomas.
The vehicle can travel 100 miles before it needs to be recharged and reaches top speeds of just over 70 miles per hour.
Brian Krug, president of Budget car rental in the Cayman Islands, said the company would monitor feedback from customers before adding more electric vehicles to its fleet.
He said the infrastructure of charging stations, including a new one at Budget’s headquarters, is growing and could easily support more electric cars. The price of the vehicle makes it a little more expensive than other economy rentals, he said, but there is a niche of environmentally conscious consumers willing to pay a premium to go green.
He added that the extra rental costs would be offset slightly by the absense of fuel costs, with free charging available.
John Felder, president of Cayman Automotive Leasing and Sales, said he is hoping to sell electric cars to rental companies throughout the Caribbean, adding that Budget’s Wheego would be the first fully electric rental in the region.
He believes a proposed drop in duty fees on electric cars, as well as an increase in the number of charging stations, will help make them a more viable options for consumers as well.
There are currently 12 electric vehicles on the road in Grand Cayman and Mr. Felder believes there is room for growth.
“The duty rate drop should help bring the price below $30,000, which should make it more of an option for regular folks,” he said.