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Electric vehicle potential unveiled

There’s a plan to install pay-to-use fast chargers at provincial rest areas on Highway 16

It’s always great when one encounters an individual who is enthusiastic about what they are doing.

Talking to Janice Keyes of the Community Energy Association about recharging possibilities, might make you want to run out and purchase some kind of electric vehicle.

Keyes, the senior manager for Community Energy Engagement, was in town recently and more than eager to pass on information about the potential being explored in our area and the actualities that have shown up in regions where networks for recharging have been established.

In the Kootenays, for example, the project went from planning to operation in the short period of around two and a half years. What it means is that electric vehicles have many sites at which to recharge quickly so that travel from site to site in the region with such a vehicle is easily possible.

Keyes explained that in the Kootenays, there has been an increase in tourism associated with the availability of charging stations of various types. She also said that there have been savings from lowered maintenance costs and specific rebates for purchasing a battery electric vehicle.

Most people are unaware of the different types of charging stations that are available. The different types provide very different times that are needed to get an adequate charge. For example, the plan includes placing pay-to-use fast chargers at provincial rest areas on Highway 16 that will allow for a charge in around 30 minutes.

The standard charger most people think of is one we might use overnight at home but the “stop and shop” system is designed to take around four hours. Most of these Level 2 chargers are free to use.

Keyes explained that the network now in place in the Kootenays is similar to that which is being planned for our region.

There are still a number of myths that exist about the use of electric vehicles, especially in our northern climes. More and more completely electric vehicles and various hybrid types are becoming available which make using them practical. In fact there are more than 100,000 electric cars on the roads in Norway.

With networks of charging stations being developed, home charging is not the only convenient option for keeping these vehicles charged. The idea of inconvenience of recharging one’s cell phone is far in the past.