Home Latest News Electric motorcycles flood Havana amid diesel shortages

Electric motorcycles flood Havana amid diesel shortages



HAVANA — The younger folks come and go on their electrical bikes at this freeway exterior Cuba’s capital the place they carry out stunts and discuss their two-wheelers, which might be largely silent if it weren’t for the music blasting from audio system.

Cuba has been flooded lately with “motorinas,” as the electrical scooters are known as on the island, which have been promoted by the federal government as environment friendly alternate options amid excessive gasoline and diesel shortages, and as an answer to the nation’s transportation issues.

Authorities permitted their importation final decade – Cubans can’t import bikes with gasoline or diesel engines – and since then about 300,000 of them have circulated on the island, mentioned Col. Mario Ríos Labrada, head of car registry on the Nationwide Transit Directorate. Compared there are an estimated 500,000 vehicles.

The bikes can price between $2,000 and $5,000. Many originate in China and are imported to Cuba by means of Panama. Cuban officers say a domestically made electrical bike known as the “Minerva” is being produced at an previous bicycle manufacturing warehouse in Villa Clara.

“There’s an ‘outbreak’ of electrical bikes, everybody likes them,” mentioned Ernesto José Salazar, 20, who works in a paint store. “We obtained to fulfill up with 200 bikes, honking and listening to music.”

Younger riders manage by means of social networks and spend hours discussing the advantages of a battery or the place to purchase tires or discover one of the best workshop.

“Gasoline is a misplaced trigger, you need to search for it and queue up, proper now having an electrical bike right here is life itself,” mentioned Alejandro Vasallo, 23.

Cuban drivers face shortages of gas, particularly diesel, which can be used to energy the electrical energy mills that feed the nation’s energy grid, which collapsed this summer time. Oil shortages have been attributable to difficulties in Venezuela – an ally and provider of the island – and U.S. sanctions.

Electrical scooter drivers recharge the batteries by means of regular energy sockets and are out of luck when the provision goes down.

Authorities in Cuba promote electrical bikes as power environment friendly and as a substitute for a public transportation system plagued shortages of components to restore damaged down buses and a scarcity gas.

“Electrical energy will all the time be cheaper than diesel gas and gasoline, and as well as, electrical motors are way more environment friendly than combustion engines, it can save you as much as 70% of the price of gas,” Ramsés Montes Calzadilla, technique director of the Ministry of Vitality and Mines, mentioned in an interview with information web site Cubadebate.

Electrical bikes are altering the city panorama in Cuba and in addition creating challenges: the batteries are inclined to catch hearth and their relative silence accompanied by driver inexperience is inflicting visitors accidents.

The newest figures out there from the Fireplace Division indicated that within the first half of 2020 there have been 263 fires from bikes with gel or lithium batteries, a notable improve in comparison with 208 for your complete 12 months 2019.

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