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Former UVI Director Leads Caribbean Electric Vehicle Program

Wayne Archibald, founder of Green Solutions International SKN, Inc. (Photo courtesy Wayne Archibald)

The man who led the University of the Virgin Islands’ drive towards sustainable energy practices in 2011 has found new frontiers in the Caribbean region. As a result of those efforts, the nations of Jamaica and Bermuda now have trained technicians for electric vehicle repair.

Through his professional social media site, Wayne Archibald congratulated the trainers and mechanics who completed the latest 10-day EV certification program.

Archibald served as UVI’s first director of the university’s Green Technology Center in April 2011.

He now heads a private firm, Green Solutions International SKN, Inc. Founded in 2016, the company’s website states its goal of promoting clean energy growth, adaptation, and investment across the Caribbean.

“It took a while to catch on,” he said. “Solar is where we started, and then we expanded into electric vehicles.” By 2022, Archibald and his team got started with EV training after linking up with the Jamaican government.

“It all started with a project that we were doing for the Jamaican government, and we were doing it through the IDB Lab … we partnered with this company in the U.K. to bring the EV certification to the Caribbean,” he said.

The lab supports innovation and provides venture capital funds through the Inter-American Development Bank Group. Some of those who enrolled were in Jamaica’s law enforcement and military branches.

The U.K.’s Institute for Motor Industry sent instructors to share general knowledge about electric vehicles, electric vehicle hazard management and special sessions on handling EV’s high-voltage components.

Afterward, each trainee had to undergo evaluations for what they had learned through hands-on and online testing. “And you must pass them all,” Archibald said.

Those who complete class work and testing then receive certification from the motor industry institute.

Bermuda is now the latest Caribbean nation to train and certify EV mechanics, having sent a group through its own 10-day course in late December-early January. Among the mechanics and technicians taking part were several first responders, Archibald said.

“This intensive training program marked a significant step forward in our commitment to sustainable and eco-friendly transportation solutions for Bermuda and beyond. We’re incredibly proud of the hard work and dedication shown by all participants, and we look forward to seeing the positive impact this knowledge will have on our community and the broader Caribbean region,” the Green Solutions founder said in a Jan. 4 social media post.

The demand for EV-savvy mechanics and technicians is expected to grow and possibly lag behind demand in the years to come, according to a report by Modor Intelligence. Currently, South Korea, China, and Japan have the most certified mechanics, while other parts of the Pacific — like Australia — in 2023 predicted they will fall short of technicians within a few years.

Information on the availability of mechanics in the North American and European markets is not readily available.

When he was asked why the Caribbean seems a likely place to promote alternative energy solutions like electric vehicles, he cited the availability of solar resources and the highest cost of fuel to burn electricity.

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