On 9 January 2017, after a four-year effort, Miami, Florida-based Premier Automotive Export (PAE), Ltd., a subsidiary of Grand Cayman-based Cayman Automotive (www.caymanautomotive.com), received a license from the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the United States Department of Commerce authorizing the export of electric vehicles and vehicle chargers from the United States to the Republic of Cuba. PAE became operational in January 2017.
New Paragraph (1/27/17): Mr. Felder, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Cayman Automotive, reported that after contacting a United States-based consultant, making a payment of US$2,500.00 and not receiving the expected support, he chose to directly engage with the licensing staff at the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury and the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the United States Department of Commerce to navigate the licensing process. From Mr. Felder: "The licensing staff at the OFAC and BIS were excellent in assisting me; we were all seeking to create a license never before attempted... and we did."
Partial text from the PAE application to the BIS: “Electric vehicles will be used by the various embassies as their official government vehicle. Premier Automotive Export is seeking a U.S. Export License to ship 100% electric vehicles and charge stations to Cuba. This new business will not only benefit the Cuban people by reducing the country's carbon footprint, but also by creating jobs and having a positive effect of our economy.”
The BIS license (Click For PDF Text), which is valid until 31 January 2021, requires that all vehicles be exported directly from the United States through the United States-based subsidiary, PAE, and be delivered only to non-Republic of Cuba government-operated entities.
Authorized end-users include, but are not limited to, embassies, private enterprises and non-state businesses, self-employed, and United States-based companies with operations in the Republic of Cuba. There may be no transfer of ownership unless authorized by the BIS.
Thus far, the government of the Republic of Cuba has not authorized United States-based companies to directly export products to non-Republic of Cuba government-operated entities.
United States-based companies with operations in the Republic of Cuba include Atlanta, Georgia-based Delta Air Lines, the first United States-based company to establish an office since 1961 in the Republic of Cuba; Fort Worth, Texas-based American Airlines which has the largest presence of all United States-based air carriers, has an operations office for its resident country manager and expects to have a ticket office soon; Long Island City, New York-based JetBlue Airways expects to open an office soon; and Stamford, Connecticut-based Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (a subsidiary of Bethesda, Maryland-based Marriott International), which manages the Four Points Sheraton Havana and this year will add two properties.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury has authorized United States-based companies to have representative offices in the Republic of Cuba.
The company (coordinating through its office in Miami, Florida) is using the Crowley Liner Services twice-weekly container schedule from Port Everglades, Florida, to the Port of Mariel, Republic of Cuba, managed by TC Mariel SA (a subsidiary of Singapore-based PSA International Pte Ltd).
The first Nissan Leaf departed the United States on 8 February 2017.
18 January 2017
The license stipulates shipment of “one 2015 Nissan Leaf, 100 percent electric four-door sedan with a range of 87 miles on a single charge. The engine is 24 kilowatts and delivers 97 horsepower,” and costs US$24,850.00.
The document describes the station: “Clipper Creek level II charger is a 40 amp charger fitted with the J-1772 universal charging connector,” the same equipment used in Cayman’s charging stations. The license pegs the cost at US$875.00.
Mr. Felder has been operating George Town-based Cayman Automotive since 2005, mostly trading in U.S., Japanese and Chinese trucks and cars. In 2009 he became Cayman’s sole electric-vehicle dealer, selling the first “EV” to Camana Bay and installing almost a dozen-and-a-half charging stations across Grand Cayman, supplying the 52 electric cars on the roads. The islands boast another 15 gas-electric hybrids.
Guyanese Ambassador to Cuba Halim Majeed thanked Mr. Felder for the initiative: “On behalf of the Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, and, indeed on my own behalf, I would wish to express our gratitude to you for your perseverance in exporting to my embassy a 100 percent electric vehicle,” the ambassador wrote on Jan. 10.
Mr. Felder said he partnered with Advanced Solar Products, Inc., (http://www.advancedsolarproducts.com) based in Flemington, New Jersey, to install 50 charging locations, each costing approximately US$1,000.00, in gas stations across Havana. “They are going into Havana next month to get operating, and will be shipping chargers next month,” Mr. Felder said, indicating the company may employ Cuban-built solar panels.
In a December 2014 issue of Cuba’s Granma International newspaper, Efren Marcos Espinosa, investment specialist at the Pinar del Rio electric company, said Cuba’s 4,000 solar panels each produced a peak output of 250 watts, saving approximately 8.4 million barrels of crude per year.