Samoana Rentals has scored a first by bringing the first electric car into Samoa, the Nissan Leaf.
“It’s fully electric, it’s not a hybrid,” said the owner of Samoana Rentals, Leiataua James Arp
“This is the future of Samoa because it will save a lot of money in petrol, diesel and oil. At present we are testing it out for use on the airport run to pick up people.
“The airport run is a big cost to the company so we are trying to reduce it by introducing the electric car,” he said.
Samoa is way behind compared to other countries as far as electric cars are concerned, Leiataua said.
“The Cook Islands, Tahiti and Fiji are way ahead of us and they already have their infrastructure.
“New Zealand for example has charging stations all over Auckland and everywhere in New Zealand and they are all free to charge at any location,” he said.
“In Fiji, Cook Island and Tahiti, all electric cars are duty free because they want to bring down the cost of their importation in terms of petrol and fuels.”
“For us, the company has chosen to start electric cars simply because that is where the future is.
We don’t want to be left behind when it actually happens and we want to assist the government with their programme to have renewable energy as a source of transportation.
However Leiataua said with these new electric cars, the government should also consider changing the current law of the duty and customs department.
“There is no law for electric cars because it’s zero CC in the engine and this vehicle does not have an engine; it goes by the battery,” he said.
“That is one of the things that I want to request from government to see if they can change the current law so we can accommodate the electric cars importation. If the law is changed then we will look at getting some more electric cars.”
Another issue that Leiataua say is having infrastructure to charge the cars.
“There should be charging stations set up to quickcharge the vehicles,” he said.
“We also want to rent these cars to the tourists to help the government with their drive to introduce renewable energy vehicles and energy efficient vehicles.
“The trend is that it looks like electric cars are the future and this will help reduce the importation of oil, petrol and diesel.
“As far as the cost of the charging of the battery from empty to fully charged, we work it out at roughly $16 tala per charge.
“The range of the trip from fully charged it’s 120-140 miles depending on how you drive and if you accelerate more, then there’s more electricity use etc.
“So we are going through a testing mode to see if we can reduce the cost.”
Leiataua went on to say that Samoana Rentals will import more electric cars once the current law has been changed.
“We will eventually import fully electric cars when the law is changed but under the present law the duty is based on the engine size and the year of the vehicle so it needs to be changed because this vehicle does not have an engine, it has a CC rating,” he said.