SUMMERSIDE – Summerside residents will have a chance to take part in a car-share program once the city adds three new electric vehicles to its fleet.
“Part of the car-share program is to offer them up to the public to allow them to get used to driving electrical vehicles around the City of Summerside,” said Greg Gaudet, director of the city’s municipal works department.
Gaudet said the city wants residents to become aware of the ability of the electric car in reducing emissions and the technology that is available. The vehicles will be made available to the public when not being used by city staff.
He said Mike Thususka, the city’s director of economic development, went to local dealerships telling them that the city is going the way of electric vehicles.
He said there are few options available in the area and the city wanted to put dealerships on notice that this is the way Summerside is going.
“When you ask dealers when they will be available and when they’re coming to Canada, it’s almost like they’re non-existent,” Gaudet said. “The dealers have to have a minimum set number of cars before they’ll invest in a maintenance and service industry and until the dealers get that kind of a mass production of vehicles they won’t invest in service and even the manufacturers won’t help them set up to service these vehicles.”
Gaudet said there is technical capability within the electric department to deal with them. He added the city also plans to involve Holland College in the program.
There are charges scattered throughout the city and at Credit Union Place that will service the vehicles.
City council took the first major step to creating an electrical vehicle grid/car sharing program by approving the purchase three electric vehicles for staff.
Coun. Frank Costa, chairman of the city’s electric services committee said, Wednesday night, the purchase was budgeted for this year.
“By establishing an electric vehicle fleet grid program, Summerside hopes to establish itself as a global leader in transportation infrastructure, integrating renewable energy,” he said.
The city purchased two Nissan Leaf cars from Nissan Canada and a Ford Focus electric vehicle from D. Alex MacDonald in Summerside.
The total cost of the three vehicles is $96,182, $6,182 over the budgeted amount.
“My understanding is that although we’re slightly over budget here the cost savings will adequately cover that shortfall,” Costa said.
Gaudet said all three vehicles are equipped with a quick-charge feature, meaning the vehicles’ power battery can be re-charged to 80 per cent of its total power in one hour.