A shipment of one of the world’s most popular electric cars is heading for Bermuda, and the vehicles are expected to go on sale later this month.
The latest version of the Nissan Leaf, which has a range of about 150 miles on a single charge, will be sold by Auto Solutions Limited. The company was visited by representatives of the Japanese carmaker last week.
Interest in electric and hybrid vehicles has been increasing in Bermuda, according to Glen Smith, managing director of Auto Solutions.
“The interest is there. We have clients looking for electric vehicles, asking about availability and when they can take one for a test drive,” he said, adding that it is still a case of educating people about the viability and benefits of having an electric vehicle.
A common question is how far will an electric car go before its battery is run down. Mr Smith pointed to the expected single-charge range of the Nissan Leaf, which is 150 miles.
Clients can have charging stations installed at their homes. There are also public charging stations for electric vehicles, with a number at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, and in Pembroke outside Bermuda Electric Light Company on Serpentine Road and at Auto Solutions’ premises on St John’s Road.
Engineers from Nissan Motor Corporation Ltd were on the island to help Auto Solutions and BE Solar prepare for the Bermuda launch of the Nissan Leaf and other electric vehicles. BE Solar is Auto Solutions’ exclusive partner providing electric-vehicle charging stations for customers.
In preparation for the arrival of the cars, a technician at Auto Solutions travelled to Mexico to attend a Nissan training course and become a Nissan Electric Vehicle certified technician. The company intends to send more of its technicians for training overseas.
Shozou Takahira, of Nissan, and Gaurav Pable, of Tata Consultancy Services, conducted an audit of the island’s power quality, grid stability, overall electrical infrastructure and testing of existing electric vehicle public chargers.
Mr Smith said the presence of the engineers was significant. He said: “It was very important. They wanted to make sure that Bermuda has the infrastructure and that BE Solar are qualified to hook-up the chargers.”
Nissan’s on-site audit included team members of Auto Solutions and BE Solar attending intensive EV charger installation training to ensure “the highest level of safety and quality”.
Technicians from Auto Solutions and BE Solar who were involved in the training sessions surpassed Nissan’s strict testing standards.
Mr Smith said: “All current EV chargers and demonstration installations performed by BE Solar and Auto Solutions were approved by Nissan’s engineers. Future installations will be performed by BE Solar and be approved by the Nissan Charger Infrastructure Planning Group team.”
Auto Solutions and BE Solar met with the Department of Planning to learn about the direction Bermuda is going regarding electric vehicles. Auto Solutions and BE Solar said they will ensure electric vehicle charging stations installed for residential and commercial customers comply with Bermuda Government regulations.
Stuart Kriendler, managing director of BE Solar, said: “We will perform charging installations in compliance with Nissan’s mobile installation application, which connects to Nissan’s headquarters. We can also provide solar solutions to our mutual clients to essentially ‘fuel’ the electric vehicles, further reducing their operating costs and carbon footprint.”
Auto Solutions expects the first shipment of new Nissan Leafs this month, after which the cars will be available for sale.