Electric on display

Journal Pioneer staff
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Electric vehicle owners educate Farmers Market visitors

SUMMERSIDE – Three electric vehicle owners gathered outside the Summerside Farmers Market Saturday morning to provide a little education about electric vehicle technology and dispel some of the myths and misinformation surrounding its use.

Three electric vehicle owners displayed them at the Summerside Farmers Market Saturday morning. Here a market visitor chats with Chris Stewart about his Nissan Leaf and Dr. Mike Irvine about his Chevrolet Volt.

Harold Smith, representing Sun Country Highway, an electric vehicle energy-charging company that has installed free chargers across the country, displayed his Tesla Model S. Dr. Mike Irvine displayed his Chevrolet Volt, which employs a small engine back up to alleviate range anxiety for drivers. Chris Stewart owns a Nissan Leaf, one of the most popular electric cars on the market.

Stewart claims that his vehicle, which he bought for $38,000 two years ago and which today sells for $28,000 in the U.S., has cost him about $400 in electricity to run.

“I’m getting about 6 kilometers per kilowatt hour,” he said, which in real terms means 6 kilometers for eight cents, using Summerside’s overnight rate plans for electricity use. While a full charge takes him about eight hours, newer versions of the vehicle charge in about four hours.

“I love it,” Stewart summarized.

Catherine Graves and Evie MacKinnon-Porter stopped to talk with Smith at the display and came away enlightened, if not convinced.

“I’m scared of running out of power,” MacKinnon-Porter admitted after talking to Smith, but a moment later considered “500 kilometers; that’s quite a distance.”

Not all electric vehicles get the same range, but they are improving, the vehicle owners identified, and some include back-up like the engine-assisted Volt, while some use electric power as backup, like hybrids.

Sun Country Highway has installed more chargers in Summerside since the first ones about two years ago. Chargers are now available at Holland College Waterfront Centre, Brothers Two restaurant, the Credit Union Place and St. Eleanor’s Community Centre as well.

As for size, Stewart says his Leaf provides seating for five, and is as roomy as his Honda Accord.

“Someday,” Graves expressed as she and her friend headed for their petroleum-powered vehicle in the parking lot.

The electric vehicles were at the Farmers Market until closing, but their owners do plan to do more displays in the future.

newsroom@journalpioneer.com

Organizations: Holland College Waterfront Centre, Sun Country, Credit Union Place

Geographic location: Summerside, U.S.

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  • Leptoquark
    May 12, 2014 - 11:23

    Nice going, plug-in drivers! This kind of real-driver non-dealer public outreach is really helpful for the public. My car club (www.evadc.org) does several public events like this a year, and it's really impressive when someone from the public hears from a driver how great their plug-in is. I'm not aware of many products where the purchaser wants to voluntarily go out and tell others about it. Suggestions: quote costs in cents per unit distance, since that's really the most meaningful way to compare gas and electricity. Where I live, the gas car I replaced with a Leaf used to cost 12 cents per mile. The Leaf costs 3. Also, in a two-car household, tell people what fraction of the driving is done electrically. Our Leaf takes up about 90% of daily driving, and has become the real work-horse.