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Electric vehicle advocates say EVs are shockingly fun to drive

Local EV enthusiasts challenge Vancouverites to get behind the wheel

Electric vehicles are becoming more popular with Vancouverites, and advocates for EVs say they're not just sensible: they're a gas to drive, too. Cameron Thomson photo.
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Reported by Cameron Thomson

The future of electric cars in Vancouver is looking positively charged thanks to the efforts of a diverse group of local lobbyists.

The Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association (VEVA) has advocated for more electric vehicles (EVs) and charging stations in the city for 30 years. The park board recently announced two new stations for Dunbar and Killarney community centres, with upgrades to those at Sunset Community Centre due later this year. This will add to the 19 charging stations currently in south Vancouver, and the hundreds across the Lower Mainland.

VEVA president Bruce Sharpe said EV growth cannot stop there,

“That sounds like a lot, but it’s still only a fraction of what we are going to need as electric cars become more popular,” he said.

Since VEVA’s inception, EV ownership has grown dramatically in the city, although EVs still account for only one per cent of traffic.  Over the years, VEVA members have been consulted by policymakers. Many have created businesses related to green energy and transport, making the group as much a networking opportunity as an environmental lobby.

One of the younger members, Sukhdeep Gill, 28, created the company Cielo Electric Ltd., which specializes in private charging stations for EVs.

Gill said VEVA is made up of a mixture of activists, enthusiasts and entrepreneurs,

“It’s a vast number of fields which are not related, but what brings us together is electric vehicles.”

Langara alumna, and VEVA board member, Suzanne Fairley said Vancouver is in the middle of a shift toward electric transportation. Fairley said it is not necessary to know a lot about EV technology to enjoy the thrill of driving one, and that the speed of modern EVs would surprise most conventional car drivers,

“If I pull up to a red light and somebody, usually a guy, comes up beside me and wants to race me over the line, I’ll roll down my window and say, ‘This is an electric car, I’ll blow you away in the dust if you try to overtake me,'” Fairley said.

Sharpe said encouraging Vancouverites who have never tried an EV to get on board is what VEVA is all about.

“Once you get into one of these cars and experience them and learn a little about them you realize this is really the right way to make a car.”

 

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