Transitioning to electric vehicles (EVs) is perhaps the biggest change the auto industry has ever seen. While this could be overwhelming for a lot of drivers, some are very satisfied with the switch.
A recent KPMG research poll says that only four per cent of Canadians owned an EV, but about seven out of 10 Canadians will look at EVs as their next vehicle of choice. However, the poll also notes that drivers are concerned about “charging anxiety”–they fear there won’t be enough charging stations built.
“This is one of the psychological barriers…I talk to Albertans that think that there aren’t charging stations where they go and in fact there are, so it’s just a lack of awareness,” says William York. “I’ve traveled all the way to Seattle in my [electric] car.”
York is a director for the Electric Vehicle Association of Alberta (EVAA). The association focuses on raising awareness and educating Albertans on sustainable transportation. EVAA believes that the main obstacle to ownership is the myth that electric vehicles are too difficult to adapt to.
“It costs me $12 to drive 500 kilometres in my electric vehicle,” York says.
York owns a 2019 Tesla Model 3 and goes on road trips frequently around the province.
“There’s extremely robust coverage there,” said York.
While use of gas-powered vehicles is still predominant in Calgary, EVs are gaining popularity at impressive speeds, especially with charging stations being installed regularly.
The City of Calgary introduced its electric vehicle strategy in 2019. The strategy focuses on installing more charging stations in convenient locations. This is the city’s way to prepare for the rapid adoption of EVs.
By helping drivers transition to EVs, the city expects to reduce up to 40 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.
Besides the environmental benefits of EVs, RD Bryan says that paying lower maintenance costs made it a no brainer for him. Bryan is a Calgary resident who owns a 2019 Volkswagen e-Golf and a 2022 Tesla Model 3, both fully electric, and he has no intention of going back to fuel vehicles.
“It seems like going back in time, in terms of standing in the cold pumping gas, waiting for oil changes, to all the extra maintenance,” said Bryan. “It’s so much simpler and easier with the electric car. Plugged in my garage everyday, always charged.”
Owning two EVs, Bryan says range isn’t a problem for him either.
“We went to the Banff gondola the other weekend, plugged in at free charging there, enjoyed some activities then came back and the car was charged,” says Ryan. “You just have a better understanding of where you’re going and what your situation is.”
With drivers coming around to the concept, car manufacturers are also investing large amounts of money into the EV market in Canada. For example, General Motors plans to introduce 20 new models of EVs by 2023, while Ford will be doubling the production of its F-150 Lighting, the electric version of the best selling truck in Canada.