Loading articles...

Electric car owners buck Alberta stereotype

Driving may look a little less attractive in Alberta these days.

Environment Minister Shannon Phillips has not ruled out a tax on gasoline or vehicles as part of the province’s new climate change panel discussions.

Gas at Calgary pumps also hit an average of $1.03 per liter Saturday.

Discussions over environmental impact were also expected to start ramping up ahead of the United Nations climate change conference at the end of November.

Add it all up and some people might be looking to buck an Alberta stereotype of owning a fuel guzzling pick-up truck.

Local enthusiasts are hoping more people will consider electric cars as National Drive Electric Week Calgary wraps up.

Maciej Bialy, founder and president of the Electric Vehicle Association of Alberta, organized a car show along Stephen Avenue Saturday.

He said the understanding of electric vehicles is in a place similar to the early days of the big, bulky cell phone.

“It’s really wrapping your head around a totally different type of technology,” Bialy said.

In Alberta especially, Bialy said some harmful myths have spread like worries over the use of fossil fuels on the grid, and how far a person is able to drive after charging up.

“Currently there are all sorts of ranges available, everything from about 120 kilometres, up to close to 500 kilometres. It’s all depending on different price points. For the average person that’s commuting, it’s perfectly sufficient.”

A recent Simon Fraser University study claims even on Alberta’s mostly fossil fuel powered electric grid, electric cars could reduce emissions by 45 per cent.

Trevor De Waard has been driving a 2012 red Chevy Volt for three years and brought his car and his electric longboard to the downtown event.

He, like many other drivers, does most of his charging at home.

Still, he said infrastructure for plugging in around town is slowly improving with public charge stations being set up at places like hotels, shopping centres, and at the University.

John Murdoch brought his small, all electric smart car to the show. He said he was able to drive from Edmonton to Cochrane and has never had a problem on road trips finding plugin stations in Alberta communities.

National Drive Electric Week Calgary

However, a switch to electric isn’t for everybody. Murdoch said the infrastructure and technology isn’t ready for those driving long distances into far reaching rural areas.

The high price tag when purchasing an electric vehicle is also still a deterring factor in the Province. Alberta, unlike BC and Ontario, does not offer purchasers a few thousand dollars in rebate incentives.