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Let’s make cars!

Marlon Madden

Let’s make cars!

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A local auto-mechanic believes the time is right for Barbadians to consider manufacturing cars locally.
In addition, Delisle Stoute, 35, said electric vehicles could do well given the spiralling cost of fossil fuels.
“We have the talent here. The only thing we probably don’t have is the capital and some of the materials to make them,” he told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY.
“I always ask myself why we never think to carry the manufacturing of vehicles to that level here in Barbados. Years ago they used to make a few but they used to use fibre glass and other parts were brought in and assembled in Barbados.
“We have no reason why it cannot be done. No reason at all. They have a polytechnic that they teach these things. They should have pilot projects of making vehicles and casting things,” said Stoute, a former SJPP student, who has been in the automechanic industry for over five years.
In October this year, Carlton Cummins, 23, a university graduate, citing electricity and gas bills as two of the largest household expenditures, said it was critical that people began to think seriously about using renewable energy and consider owning electric instead of gas-powered vehicles.
For his final-year project in the mechanical engineering BA programme at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cummins wrote a research paper on the feasibility of electric vehicles for the Caribbean suburban commuter. With that research and the help of his tutors, he was able to build an electric drive and an electric-powered motorcycle.
Stoute said he believed the production of electric vehicles would be “easier” than that of gas-powered vehicles.
“That would be bringing a different thing to the market. That is something we should consider. Barbados can diversify from the norm. We have so many opportunities from using alternate energy,” said Stoute, adding that the price of fossil fuel was on the increase and “not coming back down in any hurry either”.
Morris Lee, a former head of the Association of Public Transport Operators, has said that based on current consumption patterns of public service vehicle owners in Barbados, Government could save about $100 million annually if it helped to retrofit vehicles to operate on battery power instead of diesel.
The public transportation industry in Barbados alone is said to be using between $55 million and $70 million in fuel every year.