Can Barbados produce an Electric Cycle for the world?

CameronEV – Electric Vehicles rejects substandard shoddy bikes

Will CameronEV set up manufacturing in Barbados?

We’ve followed the adventures our friend David Cameron for 2 years as he performed real world testing of electric bicycles in Barbados. David’s company CameronEV – Electric Vehicles is based in Ottawa Canada, and every four or five months he arrives in Bim with new technology and bigger plans.

BFP readers followed Cameron’s struggles to make it up Sugar Hill in 2009 and then guffawed in 2010 when he claimed he’d driven 176kms on the island for the sum total of one US dollar. That is, we laughed until we realized he’d done just that. Hmmmmmm… kind of makes the old blue Toyota look like the pig that it is!

We watched with surprise last April as David arrived in Hastings at a certain night spot with a pretty girl on the back and immediately collected a fairly substantial crowd of onlookers who were fascinated with the electric bike. (Clive shifted his attention to the bike too when he discovered that the lady in question was Mrs. Cameron. Hey… nice to see that Clive has some scruples left!)

“There is a cultural shift happening – solo BMW 4×4 drivers are the new smokers.”

Late in 2010, Cameron Industries (Barbados) was born with the goal of helping Barbados to go green – but as we saw earlier this year in March during David’s big test report, the quality of Electric-assisted bikes, well, sucks.

There are design and manufacturing problems with waterproofing of electrical components, corrosion of parts in our salt air and other issues that David can’t seem to solve no matter which supplier he looks to.

The David Cameron solution? Design and build better quality Electric bikes – and build them here in Barbados if possible.

Government MP Stephen Lashley, BlackBerry, BMWs

Dave has plans. Big plans. The world is changing. Economical and reliable personal transportation is part of that change. There is a cultural shift happening – solo BMW 4×4 drivers are the new smokers. It will take time, but eventually conspicuous consumption and waste of energy will be looked at with disdain. Solo drivers of gas-guzzlers are the new smokers.

We have to live smaller. That doesn’t mean living inconveniently or without the freedom and economic benefits that come from access to personal transportation – but we can no longer afford the cost, waste and abuse of resources that it takes to drive a big 4×4 solo for every trip. Even if individuals can afford to drive their BMW 4x4s everywhere, we as a society can’t afford it.

From the website of CameronEV Electric Vehicles

Rejection of Electric Vehicles made in the Far-East, India, the EU and North America; and the way ahead for the future.

Coupled with our research and testing in Canada and Barbados, CameronEV-Electric Vehicles attempt to obtain suitable units has proved to be totally futile from the current suppliers.

In the interests of our clients, CameronEV-Electric Vehicles will not order the units that are available due to the substandard quality of product and manufacturer service available.

The outcome of having no new units for 2011 is a reality.

The way-ahead….

The primary way-ahead is now to actually produce suitable units for 2012 based on the results of the research and testing over the past 3 years.

This production of our own units will:

  • produce suitable units for sale, hire/rental and distribution that exceed the current standard:
  • Alleviate the concerns of substandard parts and workmanship,
  • Enable the application of a unit warranty far exceeding that available for electric vehicle units today,
  • create employment in areas it is needed along with the job satisfaction of those involved in producing top-of-the-line units,
  • Use the skill-sets available and taught now in the education system,
  • raise the service standard to a consumer-acceptable standard,
  • provide an ability to enhance and upgrade the product as required,
  • lead the industry with examples to follow that will:
  • Raise the quality of the electric vehicles that are available,
  • Have the electric vehicle industry upgrade their products.
  • strengthen the environmental awareness and respect electric vehicles are to support,
  • must have government support and assistance for:
  • Financial assistance for product development and production setup,
  • Employment establishment for all staff (wherever in the world),
  • Following and enhancing environmental awareness and respect.

The plan

  • Obtain premium parts (based on our research and testing conducted):
  • Order from top-of-the-line manufacturers for current suitable parts,
  • Establish new part production, to the required standard, for parts that have to be upgraded (locations world-wide) ,
  • Involve governments (Canada, Barbados & China for example),
  • Organize shipping and supply lines.
  • Set up a electric vehicle assembly plant:
  • Establish workplace safety exceeding current levels,
  • Establish the foundation for workplace satisfaction,
  • Involve environmental awareness and respect,
  • Involve government where we are (ie: Barbados, Canada & China).
  • Establish distribution for retail and hire/rental operations:
  • Train for an increased knowledge base and servicing of sales.
  • Teach the consumer to expect the best for the price and provide options that are affordable to be considered.

The outcome

  • Exceptional product, leading the way, providing examples to follow,
  • Satisfied customers, themselves being environmental and cost-aware,
  • Employment of value where it is needed,
  • Satisfied staff willing to learn more and more,
  • Improved, always enhancing environmental awareness and respect,
  • Involved governments for their citizens.

________________________________________________________________

This action of rejection is a major step and CameronEV-Electric Vehicles will continue to provide all past, current and new customers with the level of servicing, repairs and training that will continue to exceed what is expected. This level of customer service will continue while implementing the plan for the future.

Experience has shown that our plans for a 2012 timeline to alleviate the concerns we have found could reach into the year(s) beyond. Everyone has to be flexible.

The timeline for 2012 is achievable but it will take more than the CameronEV-Electric Vehicle resources. Governments and people have to be involved.

Be involved in our plan and contact us, let’s work together to the benefit of all; the people themselves, their governments and the planet we live on!

10 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Business, Environment

10 responses to “Can Barbados produce an Electric Cycle for the world?

  1. 233

    The simple answer, No.

  2. watcher

    @anonymous
    agreed, and if it did, the cost wuld be so high it could not sell any at a profit. These bikes sale for about $250 US in China. In Barbados the cost would climb above the selling price. The problem will be solved when someone like Honda or Yamaha enter into the market but there is a slim chance of that when they both make other two wheel units running on gasoline that can get close to 100 mpg.

    Get a real bike and pedal it….it will be better for you.

  3. Rohan Frederick

    All the ministers walking around looking savvy, and driving 4 wheel drives, while little people like us catching our asses trying to pay our electric bill, buy food, and put petrol in our little susuki forte. The only build they will build is a large bank account.

  4. I should arrange for someone from BFP to use one of the e-bykes we have on the rock next time I arrive to continue putting things together. The e-bykes are loaned out when I leave to enable a user-perceptive to be gathered, mmm an e-byke with BFP decals.

    The idea of manufacturing/assembling electric vehicles in Barbados… if they can assemble transport buses then electric vehicles will be like organizing a fish fry.

    Yes, you can purchase e-bykes in China for $500BBD each, add $200BBD ea for mandatory processing at a Chinese port, add $800BBD ea for shipping & unpacking, add 48% ea for import duties and VAT, the list goes on…. But the end price is $4000BBD which is perhaps 4 monthly payments for a car.

    Manufacturing/assembly in Barbados uses the 48% for providing labour & employment which is needed in Barbados, the shipping costs are lower and so are the processing fees.

    Therefore for about the same end-price, you end up with a better unit that can last 10 years and you can have service in Barbados. Via trade arrangements you can even export to Canada, the US, the EU and perhaps someday to the rest of the Caribbean community.

    The business plan has no-one getting rich; it pays for itself and employs people.

    Ok, this is not Honda, Yamaha, Ford, GM, KIA or Mitsubishi and their billions of dollars in government assistance, this is Barbados.

  5. RLL

    I like what Mr. Cameron says and how he thinks. We do okay in Barbados with some manufacturing, we used to have more and hi tech too wid Intell. Surely we can build hot water solar heater gizmos we can put together some electrical powered bikes? Can we weld? Yes. Can we powder coat paint? Yes. Buy the components and assemple them here all waterproof for the use in the caribbean. think small, and make some jobs.

    I like how Mr. Cameron thinking.

  6. Idealism vs. Local Reality

    Startup businesses in Barbados are exercises in futility.
    Good Luck doing anything as hi-tech as electric cycles.
    Stuff like that takes high standards: we are experts in mediocrity.
    Those working the assembly line would have to pay attention and care and think about what they’re doing.
    Where are you going to find such ppl, working for the under USD10-an-hour necessary to produce at a competitive prices.
    Labour costs re. assembly will be one of the biggest cost components.
    Good luck in your venture.

  7. An answer on the local reality in Barbados and business start-ups

    It is agreed the labour costs re. Assembly will be one of the biggest cost components on the costing of a unit when manufacturing/assembling electric cycles and vehicles in Barbados.

    Actually, labour costs would be the second largest cost component passed by the stuffing/shipping/unstuffing of containers of parts.

    The cost of parts is one of the smaller cost components, government taxes and fees are a major cost factor being the third largest cost component.

    Producing a premium unit of high-quality in the current market place flood of cheap products requires a capable workforce having correct skill-set. Barbados has that advantage; it has been seen and used periodically in recent times.

    Wages, Barbados has a cost-of-living that is similar to that in Canada, some things cost more, some cost less but the end-cost is close to each other. Paying people with technical skills under USD10-an-hour is not possible otherwise Barbados would be full of factory labour camps.

    Mediocrity does not exist where the knowledge of the work-staff is recognized and utilized, efforts to exceed using the workforce is seen in Barbados in a number of industries.

    The creation of a product hence jobs worth obtaining take: money, the involvement of government, the involvement of industry and associated concerns.

    Obtaining assistance alleviates being an exercise in futility. Let’s work together to the benefit of all; the people themselves, their governments and the planet we live on!

    The electric vehicle industry is a fledgling in the manufacturing world. It is growing as the freedom and economic benefits that come from access to personal transportation lead to the success in today’s world.

  8. Idealism vs. Local Reality

    Lotsa Luck!

    You don’t last five years..

  9. John Everatt

    This concept is great. However, I do see some of the difficulties that are being faced by this fledgling company. One has to realize that Government assistance will be difficult to secure if past performance can be used as an indicator (not to mention the government lack of funds that exists today). If parts and materials could be imported into Barbados duty free then this would go a long way towards promoting the “Green Economy” that is so often talked about.
    The other major obstacle, that of obtaining a work force that really cares about the quality of work performed, might be overcome by allowing (or requiring) employees to also be owners. This may be difficult in the current climate but not impossible.
    As an aside, just today I saw a retrofit e-bicycle at Hastings. I believe this example was fitted with the smaller Magic Pie rear hub unit. The older gentleman riding this unit looked very pleased with his retrofitted unit. Perhaps a better way to start off would be to retrofit and service suitable existing bicycles here in Barbados.

  10. Mr. Everett, thank you for reading and the comment.

    I will admit government involvement has been non-existent since the article creating this thread was written 2 years ago. That has not stopped us from proceeding we have had to be extremely through. Cameron Industries (Barbados) Inc. of which CameronEV-Electric Vehicles is a division was formally created as a Barbados corporate entity this past spring of 2013.

    The submission for a work permit has been made and it is hoped it is processed by the August so that we can maintain progress so that we have actual units manufactured in Barbados for the Spring of 2014 for retail sales/hire.

    I had spotted the retrofit e-bicycle in Hasting this past spring of 2013 and actually stopped and chatted with the gentleman who was riding.

    Your idea of retrofitting and servicing suitable existing bicycles is an option especially as we should have the necessary parts etc.

    Between manufacturing units in Barbados and importing parts for promoting the “Green Economy” importing things should be duty-free. That will be a focus when I am back in Barbados under the work permit.

    All I can do is continue to be patient in the mean time and trust things are approved.