Canadian Electric Vehicles ‘Might-E Truck.’ The electric truck is a work vehicle designed for use by municipalities, campuses, malls, resorts, parks, airports and industries. (Photo courtesy of canev.com)

Canadian Electric Vehicles ‘Might-E Truck.’ The electric truck is a work vehicle designed for use by municipalities, campuses, malls, resorts, parks, airports and industries. (Photo courtesy of canev.com)

An encouraging trend: B.C. eager to go electric

Deb likes the prospect of electric vehicles and sees a great future for them

For years my husband has been telling me electric or hydro vehicles were the way of the future. He’s been a red seal mechanic for over forty years, and I never doubt his instincts. We watched the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car” with a mix of interest and horror and have watched the trends as they now lean back toward electric vehicles, with curiosity.

The movie was a true story. Following a strict mandate on air emissions in California, General Motors launched the EV-1 (Electric Vehicle) in 1997. It was an electric automobile that required no gas, oil, muffler or brake changes and was, seemingly, the world’s first perfect car. Yet six years later, GM recalled and destroyed the entire EV-1 fleet, every single one of them.

It was horrifying the political power big oil had at the time, and they were not having an electric vehicle, so GM bowed to the powers that be at the time.

Just think of the advancements that could have been made, not to mention the emissions saved. It was a very popular car, even then.

It’s almost a Back to the Future moment, but here we are. The demand is high and it’s the right time for electric vehicles. The technology has advanced, and here in B.C. we already have over 54,000 EVs on the road. That has led to an estimated 216,000 tonnes in emission reductions per year.

Besides the environmental benefits, how about something everyone can relate to at the price of gas these days, $1,800 every year in savings for the average B.C. driver.

What about charging stations, I hear many people ask, especially in the north.

Well, B.C. has one of the largest public charging networks (2,500 charging stations) in Canada, with plans to upgrade the infrastructure in the North starting this year.

Smithers town council renewed their promised to replace their aging fleet of vehicles with electric ones, and they aren’t the only town to make this pledge.

It is encouraging that the movement forward is leaning electric.

How that is going to work for those that work in the bush, have heavy-duty equipment that requires black belching diesel fuel, or even how personal preference will play into this whole ballgame? What I do know is the oil-guzzling ways of the past have to change.

There are many fights around this whole issue. I get it. It’s a lot of jobs. I also know there will be new jobs. I also understand we live on one earth, and my 11 grandchildren need to have a future where people have shown a greater understanding and compassion for the one place we all have to live.

I don’t know all of the answers to the EV industry. I’ve seen ads in which GM has once again come to the forefront with a full chassis battery for its electric vehicles. That cuts the big bulk of batteries underneath the back seat that was heavy and cut down storage space. I’m not sure how well these will handle the cold of the north either.

I do know cold was a problem with full battery vehicles in the north. Nothing like having a dead battery at 40 below if you didn’t have the luxury of an enclosed garage. And only two charging stations in all of Smithers for your workday.

I’m guessing those issues will soon be solved. The full-body battery on the chassis is intriguing, depending on the weight. And there are rebates for outfitting homes with changing stations through CleanBC and BC Hydro, and a number of other programs with acronyms I can’t figure out, but there are lots of incentives out there.

It seems British Columbians are eager to lead the way and go electric, with a growing number of hybrid vehicles on our roads.

When I worked at a couple of dealerships in town, I knew electric was coming, and it was going to be big. Especially the hybrid market.

The one question I wasn’t too sure about the answer to but was asked the most, was “what about the trucks?” Would they be powerful enough and versatile, and would the range be adequate for up here in the North where we drive a long way between towns?

Couldn’t answer that one then or now. I’m only now seeing the very first ads about electric or hybrid trucks. I know in some markets they have smaller ones, but as far as 1/2 ton utility trucks, I haven’t seen one. I know for sure it can never be as satisfying as burning out with a Hemi engine, but hey, I’d still like to give one a whirl.

The world will never see 25c a gallon gas again, and we sure can’t have the blissful ignorance of the past in not knowing what we were doing to the environment, so I’m pretty pleased British Columbia is leading the way to a new future.

Life, I’ve learned is about change, adapting, grappling, problem-solving and hopefully finding solutions to embrace. This EV revolution is one I like and intend to embrace.

I can’t say about the jobs and politics of it all, people are passionate on either side. I know we have mandates to meet such as the Zero-Emission Vehicle Act. Progress never stops, just like we can’t go back. New technologies require new workers, so that’s encouraging. The days ahead seem pretty clear, EV’s are here to stay this time, no smashing them all up.

I just have one request, can someone please have them make a noise or fake a rumbling motor so I know the darn thing is on? Freaks me out not to hear anything,

OK call me old fashioned, but I can’t be the only one, can I?

 

A line of electric vehicles Sept. 26, 2020. The convoy was part of the seventh annual Electric Vehicle Event. About 50 vehicles participated in the road rally. (Ben Hohenstatt)

A line of electric vehicles Sept. 26, 2020. The convoy was part of the seventh annual Electric Vehicle Event. About 50 vehicles participated in the road rally. (Ben Hohenstatt)