For Coldwell Energy chief executive officer David Hood, it’s not just about selling electric cars. Rather, it’s about removing the mystery of the cost versus the savings that can be derived from electric cars. It’s about building the infrastructure for charging stations and service to make electric vehicles convenient and affordable for everyone here in the CNMI.
In an interview Friday at his office at MH1 Building in Puerto Rico, Hood said he is planning to bring to the islands this August a 2021 all-electric Nissan Leaf and a Tesla for testing.
“I’m here to kind of give the island a quick nudge to get these renewables going,” he said. “That’s my goal. I want to just promote the use of these cars here and how we make it smooth for everyone to have one.”
Hood said his overarching goal right now is building the infrastructure to make this transition to electric cars smooth for everyone. What he wants to see, he said, is for electric cars and any other renewable energy cars to “become affordable for everybody.”
Hood believes that people in the CNMI need “a little nudge” to get that going because it just hasn’t happened yet here. “And so I’m going to sponsor this myself. Bring them here. Test these cars. Make sure how they operate here, because they’ll operate a little differently here with the conditions that we have,” he said.
Hood said they’re going to work on the mileage, the charge times, how they charge them, and if they will use solar when they charge those. He said the idea is to explore how to make it possible to get these cars under $50,000 “so that they become affordable for most people.”
Hood said that’s his goal—to get the infrastructure in place so that people could have electric cars. “Right now, there’s really nothing if you think about it. There are no charge stations. You could charge it at home, but there needs to be more things out on the road,” he said.
Hood said the infrastructure could be in the parking lot in one of the hotels where there’s a charge station there. “You get some VIP parking because you’re running the electric car. So you pull in there and you can charge your car. Let’s be honest, people are going to forget to charge their car and they’re going to drive it,” he pointed out.
Hood underscored the need to get the infrastructure in place so people don’t feel they’d be stranded if they buy an electric vehicle.
Hood said there going to be a lot of work to get the infrastructure in place and that’s where their company will play a key role.
“We do that in the U.S. already. The cars are available. So it’s not like I need to build the car. They’re available. We can have them here,” he said.
Hood, who has been in the renewable energy business for 10 years now, said he has been on the island for a while now and he just want to see the CNMI move forward.
“I want to cooperate with everybody. The more people that want to get involved, great. Our door will be open for all the information that we gather. We will definitely consult with others on the data that we gather when we are going to use the cars here,” he said.
Hood said the charge times will be different here because of the weather condition. “If they’re just a trickle charge, that’s easy. Just plug into a 110. Problem with that is it’s very, very slow, so there’s 220 chargers and now we are creating a solar charge,” he said.
Hood said there are two possible sources of power—Commonwealth Utilities Corp.’s grid and solar—and the charge stations could be connected to the power grid or not.
Hood said electric cars go up to 300 miles with one charge. Using a gasoline-powered car, he drove from Capital Hill to Pacific Islands Club in San Antonio and back and that’s 26 miles.
“You can do that seven times, eight times with [an electric] car before you charge it,” Hood said.
“I’m not trying to corner the market here. Don’t get me wrong that I’m going to get greedy here and do it all this myself. I want everybody to get involved. I want this to be a good thing for the island,” he said, adding that they are going to work with different companies.