Finding a good car that will not need special mechanics for service requires research. It means looking through records of recalls and maintenance guidelines for EVs, reading personal blogs and long term reviews. By immediately removing the new models due to ineligibility for federal tax incentives and lack of maintenance data, this still leaves many choices. There are compliance cars (Fiat 500e & Toyota RAV4EV), which are only sold in a few areas of the US and are therefore not likely to be cheap shipping because of distance from the Caribbean.
Those with significant recalls have mainly been American EVs (Ford & Chevy). They are also more expensive than some competitors. So, this leaves used EVs like a Leaf, i-Miev, Think City, Smart FourTwo, even +10 year old RAV4EVs and Ford Ranger pick up trucks. Becuase of the low appeal of two seaters on the island, we can remove the truck and the Smart car.
The Nissan Leaf is very popular in the states, due to the big push that Nissan has given. But there is a battery overheating issue, due to the method of cooling, which was publicized in the southern states. Additionally, we are leasing a Leaf in northeast US and have had diminishing battery capacity annually. Now that Kia has presented info on their 2015 model EV, we look forward to finding out their lease rates stateside.
Out if the many bad reviews of Mitsubishi's EV, not one has been found regarding the battery overheating or excessive degradation. Things the reviewers dislike are things that are irrelevant to SXM circumstances. Its is a basic no frills car. It can't go far. It is small in comparison to other cars. It can't keep highway speeds for extended periods. The car can get cold in winter.
These gripes are not gripes anyone in the Caribbean would worry about. But it is the reason that they have made 8,000 of these cars in 2012 and could not sell even a quarter of them, so they didn't make them in 2013. They took away the choice of options for 2014, so now there's just one trim model. Sounds like a great rental car, right?
The Think City's last production run was in March 2011, but it can still be purchased. A Swiss company has a fleet of them for rent in the mountains to offer zero pollution transport. The bankruptcy of the company inspired the idea for copying the Swiss and pasting it to SXM. There's a dealership near Baltimore & Colorado that still had a few yet unowned. A backseat can be added for 4 seat capacity. Its exterior is made of plastic that won't deform. The same stuff of children's toys but stronger. You can find pictures of ones that are 4 years old which haven't aged at all. Mechanics would be happy to travel to the tropics to work on one if the need ever occurred. Or so they said.
For a rental fleet, the Mitsubishi and the Think would handle the utility of the job. But what about groups of more than four? There are no options when it comes to mini-van EVs. Nissan expects to release one in 2015. And the Ford Transit Connect EV is made for the commercial crowd. It lacks the touch of comfort, but it may be a useful addition in the future. They can also be found at reasonable prices ($25k-$30k) across the US.