Belize Electricity Limited plugs into ‘Electric Vehicle Charging Ecosystem’
Posted: Thursday, March 31, 2022. 3:12 p.m. CST.
By Aaron Humes: It’s being hailed as our sustainable future, but will the Belizean public be able to “plug in” to a future behind the wheel of electric vehicles?
With the opening of its first public charging station at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel this morning, Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) is betting on that – and some of the groundwork has already been done, according to the chief executive. from the electricity supplier. for commercial and retail services, Sean Fuller.
Fuller advises potential vehicle owners to do their research on the types of vehicles available, but once you are able to import one, you can then “log in” to BEL to get “juice”: “You you simply register with BEL as an electric vehicle. load ecosystem user, download your free mobile app, register with BEL for free; you can either link this app to your existing BEL account or to a debit or credit card, and just go as we saw earlier to a BEL ‘Charge ‘n Go’ charging station and charge your electric vehicle; It’s that simple.”
And in terms of pricing, Fuller says the app tracks live payment as it happens. Pending changes from the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) as regulator, Fuller says you can charge at home or at the Biltmore just like you would other electrical devices: “Today you can park your electric vehicle in your parking lot at home, plug into the wall and you’ll pay the same rate you’d pay to run your electric lights or fans at home. » Pricing will be determined at a later date; Fuller doesn’t anticipate any changes, but admits there may be some. Customers have the option of paying the charge as a line item on their BEL invoices, or by debit or credit card, or ‘top up’ at the nearest customer centre.
And while BEL has said it won’t get into the sale of electric vehicles, Fuller says the investment is worth it, believing a new electric vehicle would pay for itself in cost and maintenance within two to three years new, while used vehicles are also available (in the United States). On fuel alone, based on a calculation of mileage used, customers can save nearly $7,000 for similar brand electric and internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.
Where will the stations be located? Fuller says there are plans to install stations at Orange Walk, Belmopan, San Ignacio/Santa Elena and Dangriga in the first phase of the project, and eventually they could become as ubiquitous as gas stations – for a cost. much cheaper. An electric vehicle can theoretically travel the distance between Belize City and Punta Gorda and return with one or even two charges.
BEL will use the current national grid to power the stations, but as noted by Fuller, 54% of this grid currently uses renewable sources, i.e. hydroelectricity and biomass (BELCOGEN’s bagasse). This figure should reach 74% in the next few years with the addition of solar installations.
The Minister of Public Services, Logistics and e-Governance, Michel Chebat, commended the participants for their contribution to national efforts to “ensure that our industrial structures adopt eco-efficiency to advance international competitiveness and evolve towards building a green economy… These charging stations are a game-changing development in Belize’s evolution towards e-mobility. He further pledged to move quickly to address supporting legislation and infrastructure and ensure accessibility for all.
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