Viewpoint: Electric cars save money and environment

What a gas, if you will pardon the turn of phrase. The amount joy I feel driving an electric car around Powell River is huge. A normal car functioning without gasoline is unreal.

When you step on the accelerator, the same thing happens, maybe better, as electric vehicles are known for their excellent torque.

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I’m not alone, because I see them on the road in town every day. My guess is there are about a dozen electric-vehicle owners in the Powell River region, mostly driving Nissan Leafs.

I knew it would be fun driving by the gas stations. I have a small truck for jobs, but only drive it now to the dump every couple of weeks or less.

Plugging in at home is amazing. Overnight provides a full charge, which lasts several days around here. BC Hydro quotes around $2 per 150 kilometres for a full charge on a Nissan Leaf from empty to full, which is 1/5 the cost of fuel for a Prius Hybrid over the same distance.

So far, charging is free at Westview Harbour’s upper parking lot, and at city hall. Pacific Point Market also has a charging station for anyone with a ChargePoint account. They are all level-two chargers, which are on the slow side, but faster than home charging.

Originally, I wanted to write about climate change and how it might affect Powell River. In reading some recent research on public receptivity to this issue, I found that folks mainly tune it out for a variety of reasons. So I switched to the positive stuff, such as driving an electric car.

I’m stretching my electric wings and heading for Squamish to visit my most recent grandson, who is now two years old. I need to leave Powell River on a full charge and top up at the DC Fast Charger installed by BC Hydro in Sechelt. That charge will get me more than all the way to Squamish, where there is another DC Fast Charger, or all the way to Vancouver for that matter.

Infrastructure for these vehicles is being put in place quite rapidly. It will be nice if my relatives let me plug in overnight though.

All I can say at this point, one month into it, is that it feels great to step on that pedal and not put any greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, not to mention saving close to $200 in gas bills this month alone.

Bill Lytle-McGhee is a member of Climate Action Powell River Society

Copyright © 2017 Powell River Peak

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