January 27, 2016
It was more than the lush landscaping bringing green to Parliament Square this week – and it wasn’t politics, either. It was the public square unveiling of the Nissan LEAF, a 100% electric vehicle, a snazzy, sporty car that defies the old image of the stodgy plug-in. The LEAF, the world’s top-selling electric car of all time, hits speeds of 60 in under 10 seconds, burns no fossil fuel and emits zero pollutants. And in front of the House of Assembly, it attracted the attention of officials like a star arriving on the red carpet.
Among the admirers -- Supreme Court Justice Stephen Isaacs who slid into the passenger seat and Minister of the Environment and Housing Kenred Dorsett who a few minutes later took the first official test drive and pronounced the ride and role of the electric car “astonishing.”
“This is an astonishing evolution of the automobile given the levels of acceleration, driving range, comfort, and price,” said the Minister after he drove the car from Parliament Square to a meeting at the British Colonial Hilton.
By his side was Pia Farmer, a director of Easy Car Sales, the Gladstone Road-based dealer importing the LEAF. Farmer, who is also the Danish Honorary Consul, said what motivated Easy Car Sales to bring in the electric vehicle was a combination of factors, mostly driven by its environmentally-friendly features.
“In Denmark and Norway, people are very conscientious about how their actions affect the environment,” said Farmer. “While the largest electric car market by number is the United States, in Norway, one in every 100 cars is already electric. The Bahamas could do the same, or better, since we have the benefit of the sun’s renewable power so imagine solar chargers around the island. It is our hope and our belief that as The Bahamas becomes increasingly sensitive to environmental impact, the LEAF will become the number one choice as the car of the future. We’ve also made it financially attractive with two-year-old models available for under $20,000.”
Farmer said Easy Cars will also offer leasing for qualified customers, an option she believes will appeal to businesses with gas-guzzling fleets.
The standard Leaf can reach 30 miles an hour – the average New Providence speed – in three seconds while a special police package can hit 60 in 6.9 seconds. The range of the Leaf is typically 100 miles per charge and is highest in stop-and-go traffic when deceleration or applying brakes adds power to the battery.
Easy Car Sales has been monitoring and recording driving costs under various local conditions and found the average cost to operate the LEAF to be $0.06/mile based on current BEC prices. That translates into a $12 bill for 200 miles of driving.
“That cost is one quarter of what people spend on average on gas now,” said Farmer. “And the LEAF comes with great air-conditioning, a BOSE sound system and Bluetooth technology.”
For Dorsett, the road ahead was clear.
“I’m ready to replace my car now,” he said.