Electric cars gaining popularity in Okanagan

Dealership sells five in one day, EV car show coming to North Okanagan

The drive away from the gas pumps is picking up speed.

Electric vehicles are gaining popularity around the world, including right here in the Okanagan.

One local car dealership says sales are increasing, especially since the Government of Canada’s rebates kicked in.

“On May 1 we sold five Chevy Bolt EVs, GM’s 100 per cent electric car,” said Sean McConkey, Bannister GM Vernon’s digital marketing manager. “The first was the first day of the government’s new $5,000 incentive initiative.”

See: BC Hydro powering up for more electric vehicle charging demand

Due to growing interest, the Sustainable Environment Network Society is hosting an Electric Car Show, Thursday, May 23 at the Schubert Centre from 7-9 p.m.

“I have had an interest in electric cars for a long time (over 20 years) and have organized around eight EV shows in both Vernon and Kelowna,” said Terry Dyck, with SENS. “I have also organized six electric car parade entries in the (Vernon Winter) Carnival parade (we get around 14 EV’s in the parade each year).”

While Dyck gets around in a hybrid electric car, a Prius, he has plans to upgrade.

“I bought it before there were electric car charging stations so I will be purchasing an all electric car next time.”

See: Electric vehicles more affordable than you think: BC Hydro

The Electric Car Show will give those interested a chance to go for a test drive. They can also try an electric bicycle, check out solar and wind power displays. There will be questions and discussions about costs and the environmental impact at 8:15 p.m. inside the Schubert Centre.

The event is free and will also include an all electric 30-foot-boat that can take 15 passengers from Vernon to Kelowna return for a cost of around 80 cents. The electric boat is made in Kelowna by Templar Marine Group Ltd.

New data from BC Hydro shows switching from a top-selling gas powered car to an electric vehicle could save thousands of dollars per year on the average commute.

A recent survey commissioned by BC Hydro found the average British Columbian commuter travels about 20 kilometres each day in their car. Making this trip in a Honda Civic – the top-selling sedan – would cost six times more than it would cost in a Nissan Leaf – the top-selling electric vehicle. This is the highest gap to date in B.C.

At the equivalent of $0.25 per litre in gas, fueling an electric vehicle costs about 80 per cent less than fueling a gas powered vehicle. Commuting 20 kilometres a day in a Nissan Leaf costs about $2 a week, less than the average British Columbian spends on a cup of coffee at $3.60.

Comparing the cost of gas to electricity for a round-trip 18 kilometre commute in Kamloops from the Brocklehurst area to downtown Kamloops, shows the costs add up over the course of year. For example:

· A Honda Civic costs around $330 more per year.

· A Toyota Rav4 costs around $400 more per year.

· A Ford F150 costs around $670 more per year.

In addition to saving money, about 98 per cent of the electricity BC Hydro generates comes from clean and renewable resources, which means making the switch to an electric vehicle will help reduce emissions.

There are currently more than 18,000 electric vehicles on the roads in B.C. – with 350,000 expected by 2030. The majority of commutes can be achieved without charging at work. Ninety-five per cent of all car trips in the province are less than 30 kilometres, which is ideal for electric vehicles.


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