A crew of mechanics from Grand Bahama Power Company (GBPC), Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) and Equinor, recently, participated in a training exercise for servicing the new electric vehicles in the companies’ fleet.
Representatives from the GBPC spoke to The Freeport News about the programme’s significance on Thursday (March 7) at the GBPC Transmission and Distribution Station.
GBPC Corporate Communications Manager Cleopatra Russell shared details about the programme during Thursday’s session.
GBPC has nine electric vehicles in their fleet – a Tesla model 3, four NissanLeaf cars and four Nissan NV Vans.
“We would have made arrangements with Mega Power, a company out of Barbados that provided the electric vehicles for us, to have a team come down and certify mechanics on the electric vehicles,” Russell disclosed.
She noted that GBPC also reached out to several stakeholders, including BPL and Equinor to extend an invitation for those company’s mechanics to participate in the programme, because they also use electric vehicles.
“So, we have 12 individuals participating,” she said.
A mechanic from Monserrat also completed the training programme.
The participants were set to complete the five-day course in order to become certified in electrical vehicular service. “At the end of that we would have certified electrical vehicular mechanics.”
Russell furthered that the course is a part of the GBPC’s energy future plan, which is to electrify its fleet and eventually the island.
“We’ll be installing public charging stations throughout the island in 2019,” Russell revealed.
She added that GBPC also plan to install stations in the eastern, western and central areas of the island.
“Residents right now can charge their vehicles for free at any of the charging stations,” she noted.
The company has also been working with other stakeholders who are interested in having electric vehicles to help them better understand their advantages.
“We are seeing about a 50 to 60 percent cost savings in electric vehicles compared to conventional vehicles and we definitely believe that this is the way of the future,” said Russell.
She revealed that although there are no immediate plans to expand the training programme it is a possibility in the future.
Programme instructor Ian Tetlow, Managing Director of ICT Workshop Solutions also spoke to this daily about the various aspects of the training sessions.
He explained that there are a range of courses in the training programme. “To start it off and get the ball rolling is Level One, which is basic awareness.”
According to Tetlow, Level Two is geared towards persons who work on hybrid and electric vehicles, but do not service high voltage vehicles.
He informed that Level Two also includes a Hazard Awareness Course.
Level Three of the course encompasses the previous two levels and utilizes that knowledge in practical repair and replacement training.
“So that means that they are learning to disengage the high voltage car … make sure that nobody around can get hurt or anything like that,” he added.