SUMMERSIDE – They were travelling in excess of 165 kilometres per hour but hardly making a sound.
© Mike Carson/Journal Pioneer
Harry Smith from P.E.I. sets out in a quarter-mile time trial driving an electric car. Smith covered the distance in just over 12 seconds, reaching a top speed of 197 kilometres per hour.
Several electric cars were on hand at Slemon Park on Saturday to take part in demonstration of the abilities of the new vehicles.
The cars were part of a group that travelled across the country to show how efficient and reliable electric vehicles are.
Kent Rathwell and his company, Sun Country Highway, completed the longest system of high-performance electric vehicle charging stations in the world. He then organized and completed a cross-country journey for electric vehicles, which ended in Summerside.
On Saturday, several of the cars and their drivers were at Slemon Park.
“It’s been an absolute rush today,” Rathwell said. “Yesterday, all of the vehicles did get to the Island. It was substantially relieving, knowing that they did get here. The only issue we really had was we had three blown tires en route amongst all of the vehicles, so, that’s pretty good.”
Rathwell said about 50 vehicles entered the race at different stages and between 15 and 20 were at Slemon Park for the closing day.
“We left Sept. 4 from Vancouver and Sept. 3 from Seattle, Washington, and we arrived here yesterday (Friday) at noon,” said Rathwell.
“It wasn’t a direct race. It was a race to see who could charge at the most charging stations across Canada. So, we had people zipping off to places that were definitely out of the way.”
One of the events at Slemon Park was the quarter-mile time trials.
“We had quite a few at 169 km/h and some in the sub-12-second range,” said Rathwell.
He said Sun Country intends to make this an annual event.
“The second one is again to come across the continent,” added Rathwell. “The start line may change a little bit but the finish line will be at Summerside. A lot of what we’ve been trying to do by arriving here was to promote the province as being the first province state, nation of the world to be 100 per cent electrified for virtually 100 per cent of the electric vehicles. That was done a year ago.
“There are a lot more regions that can follow suit. On top of that, Summerside now has the most charging stations of any municipality in North America.”
Rathwell said the response to the electric car has been amazing.
“Once they get to ride in an electric car they’re shocked, especially the higher performance ones,” he said. “It’s just an amazing experience. They’re quiet. They’re fast. It’s pretty exciting to prove that you can drive long distances across the country. We did it last year in the middle of the Canadian winter in December. There were five road closures on the Trans Canada.”
Charging stations for the electric vehicles will be popping up all over the country.
“This year we’ll have over 90 per cent of all Canadian highways green with charging stations,” Rathwell said. “People from across Canada can travel and learn about the other provinces and help grow a sustainable economy across Canada.”