TTADA president Visham Babwah with this electric Nissan Leaf

Shastri Boodan

The exemption on electric cars would only benefit the wealthy said Visham Babwah, the head of the T&T Automotive Dealers Association.

Babwah told Guardian Media on Tuesday that even with the tax exemptions outlined in the 2021-2022 budget, a 2-year-old used electric car would still cost more than $200,000. Babwah said a 4 year-old vehicle can cost around $130,000 if given the same exemptions. Babwah said in order to achieve a substantial reduction in emissions vehicles must be affordable to low and mid income earners.

He said “This exemption would never benefit the small man unless the age is reduced. A 4 year old vehicle can last up to 25 years and the battery life is more than 15 years. To reduce emissions, electric vehicles must be in the hands of regular commuters and taxi drivers. As it stands only high income earners can benefit from these exemptions.”

Babwah said electric vehicles come with sensors and warning devices because they are silent and can alert drivers to possible pedestrians and other hazards because consumers have complained that they are very quiet. Babwah said the fuel savings using electric vehicles are tremendous. He said “If electric vehicles are accessed by more and more people we would have a lower fuel importation bill. What Minister Imbert has done with the exemption and age restriction of allowing only two years the tax break was really a disservice to the poor.”