Electric Bicycle test in Barbados: Cost of traveling 176kms: US$1

Canadian supplier calls for Barbados tax exemption for Electric Bicycles

Our friend David Cameron of CameronEV (Electric Vehicles) in Ottawa Canada just completed stage two of testing an electric bicycle here in Barbados.

Last November we reported the first stage of the test where David used an EMoto™ Milano electric bike to roam around the island. Everything worked out fine until the bike couldn’t make it coming up to Sugar Hill. But as one of our readers (John Da Silva) remarked, even that “failure” showed that the e-bike could satisfy 95% of people on 95% of their journeys in Barbados.

David Cameron returned to Barbados in March and was successful with his continuing series of journeys around the island to test the e-bike’s capabilities. Here’s what he wrote to BFP…

The parish of St. Phillips has been conquered.

The red and white Milano e-bike visited the East Point Lighthouse, located at Ragged Point and made it back to town easily.

David Cameron returned the end of March and picked up the e-bike from Demario Cycle World where a customer assessment had been conducted.

Interesting to discover that the price of the e-bike at $5299BBD was considered high. Majority felt they would pay less than $4000BBD for an e-bike. The problem is the only way to get that price is for the government to let electric bicycles (e-bikes) be tax exempt.

The e-bike under test is a true electric bicycle under Canadian and international law. This type of vehicle should be granted a tax exemption.

Again a thanks to the patrons and staff at Buffy’s in Inch Marlow for assistance.”

Barbados transportation policies are unsustainable

As BFP has pointed out many times in the past, our current transportation policy has remained unchanged for 50 years. Our policy is accurately described as more cars on more roads and when those roads become jammed, increase the capacity again to allow more cars… and so on.

Many of our old roads can’t be widened or otherwise improved without destroying houses or doing some very expensive cutting into hills. When they originally laid out Bridgetown they weren’t planning on two ZR vans passing while meeting a bus!

In different and simpler times we had a railway, but that gave way to private autos and diesel powered buses. At a certain population and lifestyle that worked for a while, but Friday afternoons anywhere near the city should convince you that things aren’t working so well anymore.

Using the Toyota 4×4 or BMW to pick up some bread

Have a look around you next time you’re stuck in traffic: most of the cars have only the driver and no passengers. How far are they driving? Why are they taking this particular journey? To pick up some bread? To pick up their husband in the city?

Creep ahead for 10 seconds then sit for 30 seconds. What a waste of time, energy, fuel and money.

Now watch the odd motorcycle or scooter… ZIP! Away they go right past you. 20 minutes later you’re still siting in traffic and the bike rider is hoisting a cold Banks beer, relaxing and thinking about the day.

PM Thompson says "Conserve, make-do"

Times have changed, but people are pretending it isn’t so!

Prime Minister Thompson has been delivering a steady message of conservation and change in lifestyle for the last nine or ten months but many folks haven’t thought about what he is saying in a serious manner. The Prime Minister’s message can be boiled down to this: “Make do with less. Be satisfied with less. Don’t give up on the future, but for now the world has changed.”

The Prime Minister is telling the truth. Things have changed. Our hotels are half full. The tourists we see aren’t spending as they were even last year. Businesses are closing (Goodbye Miles! We gon miss you!)

Many Bajan homes have two vehicles sitting out front. We have to re-think this.

What do you think folks? Could you personally use an electric bicycle or motorcycle as your primary vehicle? If you have two autos in your household, could you make do with one auto and one e-bike?

Let’s hear what you have to say!

(Story suggested and partially written by BFP reader RLL. Thanks, RLL!)

Further Reading

Cameron Electric Vehicles, Ottawa Canada & Barbados

BFP: Barbados electric bicycle experience great until Sugar Hill

Electric bicycle world tour

Wikipedia: Electric Bicycle

Bramo Electric Motorcycles – USA

12 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Energy, Environment

12 responses to “Electric Bicycle test in Barbados: Cost of traveling 176kms: US$1

  1. Donald Duck Esq

    BFP

    If the current minister of finance raised the road tax on the average cycle from $5 to $25 in 2008 I don’t see how you will get a tax exemption for electric bicycles.

    If he was to do this then he should look to provide a reduced tax regime for hybrid vehicles and full tax exemption for electric vehicles.

    The present Minister needs some advice on tax concessions to promote energy conservation. Hope he can deliver on these in the forthcoming budget. If past experience is a refelection of what is to come then I don’t think we can expect much.

  2. sustainable vehicles

    can’t wait to see how the Electric/Gas Chevy Volt comes out and how it runs as well as how much it costs to run.

    Don’t hold your breath on tax exempt status. Everyone has their hand out for doing nothing.

    The main specialty in politics in Barbados is talking from both sides of the mouth at the same time while saying and doing nothing.

  3. Environmental Planner

    I would for sure ride one but only if we make the streets safer for bikers!

  4. you & to go my home? week no mon tue wed h free one f? 1003 11ts

  5. I’d like to congratulate Mr.Cameron on his successful second attempt at e-biking Barbados. I read last year about his attempt at Sugar Hill and wondered if he would be successful this year. Congratulations David.

    That said, I’m not sure a tax exception is going to introduce the change he is looking for. It takes ‘the people’ to introduce sustainable change, not slow moving governments, and that change has to first be affordable. I’m positive that his machine is worth every penny of the $5299.00 BBD, however, the fact remains that that is still almost 2 months salary for the average islander.

    We (www.hip-ebikes.com) retro-fit regular pedal bicycles with an electric pedal assist, which is equally as powerful as the scooter style and more rugged. A basic bike can be retro-fitted for as little as 2700.00 BBD and, because it is STILL a bicycle, can navigate the most roads and trails. I’d be interested to know who his holds up after a year of riding the roads of Barbados.

    Like Neil Armstrong’s moon landing, David made a great first step…now we have to find a more cost effective way for others to do the same…regardless of what the politicians are doing.

  6. A reply on technical & environmental concerns about e-bikes….

    The comments received are encouraging and greatly appreciated.

    David Cameron is currently back in Barbados awaiting the shipment of two additional models to arrive. One of the models is a utility-type model suitable for Post Office or Police use. Imagine silent postal delivery along your road or silent police surveillance in St. Lawrence Gap.
    The other model is a low-end priced model developed with Barbados in mind. This low-end model is the predecessor to the production model ‘Green Machine’ developed for 2011. This model is expected to be available late 2010 hopefully in Barbados.

    It has been seen that the use of the regenerative power generating capability on the EMoto Milano e-bike does increase the range of the e-bike by 10-15%.
    This regenerative function does come in handy roaming the island, finding an accessible current power outlet for a power recharge is not easy. Places here are not designed with outside current outlets. Carrying an adequate extension cord is a requirement. For a full-deep-cycle charge overnight here is seems to cost $0.50BBD as current does cost more here. Stopping for a current top-up time to time costs about $0.10BBD.
    Not bad for going 60-70km on a charge.

    Establishing a spot for a cost-recovery Rapid Charging Unit where for $2.00 BBS placed in the coin slot fully charges the e-bike in 20 minutes has shown Barbados similar to other countries has a ways to go on environmental concerns. The up-hill environmental battle remains to yet be successful.

    The technical issues discovered over the past year have been minor dealing with surface rust on the mirror stands and pedal-assist shafts, sprockets and pedal arms. Other than blowing the electric motor hall sensors on Melvin’s Hill electrically the e-bike does excellent with no maintenance required as expected.
    Tweaking the pedal-assist gearing has been passed to the manufacturer team and has been addressed.
    The last item of technical concern deals with the sun & rain covers used for storage.
    Here in Barbados extended exposure to the sun weakens the fabric and the rain when heavy makes it fall apart. This was addressed here in Barbados dealing with a canvas shop that is aware of the difficultly.

    Riding in the rain is very wet for the rider when you forget your rain gear starting out for the day. The e-bike handles the rain fine.

    Give a toot when you pass me stick in traffic on my way to town, remember unlike gas vehicles; cars, trucks, buses, and taxis I use no power standing still.

  7. Barbados and being environmentally friendly….

    This trip majority of the e-bike travels have concentrated on the south coast of the island stretching between Town and Inch Marlow, inland as far as The Pine so far.
    Being able to charge the batteries I use is an item that I always am looking for.
    To-date I have discovered and developed 8 charging spots in my travels since last fall. Three are spots I have stayed over-night allowing for a complete charge, the other five are establishments and actually one residence I have stopped time-to-time and undertaken a top-up. Of course, the Barbados Ecolodge in St. Joseph is on this list with their solar and wind power generators.

    The electric bicycle concept is new to the people here but everyone I have talked to understand the idea. As mentioned in a previous comment the costs involved are extremely minor and involve an extension cord, the e-bike charger, which is similar to a laptop charger, and the e-bike.

    As a consumer here on the island I do carry recycle-able bags with me and believe it or not every spot I shop recognizes what they are for. I am surprised most places do not have recycle-able bags available to purchase so I am glad I brought mine with me.

    I have to say, being environmental-friendly starts with the individual, involves businesses and the government. There are few programs available here; there is talk of huge programs by the government. I suggest consideration be given to small things that people can use easily:
    – Make importing recycle-able bags or the materials to make them and then have them available to be purchased tax-free, believe me my bags are two years old and seem to last quite well.
    – Have restaurants move away from Styrofoam for take-away orders, light cardboard, paper plates, wax paper and tinfoil go a long away, again making the supply of these materials for this use is another tax-free incentive.

    I am aware of the bottle recycle program here that indicates a start to something environmental here in Barbados.

  8. Add two more charging spots for electric bicycles bringing the count to 10 and they were outdoor outlets as well….

    I have to thank the manager at the Kendal Sporting Club for being so considerate on using the outdoor plug discovered there.

    The more I look the more I find.
    Alright it is a habit to scout for outlets when I stop places. When I find one, I ask & offer to pay for a top-up charge.

    To-date the red & white Milano model electric bicycle (e-bike) has logged 758 kilometers here on the island. Total power cost to date is just under $7BBD.
    Not a bad return at an average of $1 per 100km.

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  12. Actually in the process of formally establishing Cameron Industries (Barbados) Inc. at the moment. CameronEV-Electric Vehicles will be a division. Hope to be finished the incorporation in Barbados by Aug 2013, the legal side of all this is slow and required, glad I am not buying a house.
    The business plan has e-scooters, 3-wheel e-mobility scooters & electric bicycles ready for sale spring 2014.