Benefits of electric cars pitched during Burk’s Falls gathering
About 45 people attended a presentation at Burk’s Falls explaining why electric vehicles are a healthy alternative to fossil fuel vehicles.
Sundridge-based group Almaguin Climate Action organized the meeting, which was attended by nine local electric car owners, who displayed their vehicles outside of Burk’s Falls, Armor and Ryerson Memorial Arena, where the presentation took place.
One of the owners was Pam Dunlop from Baysville near Huntsville who presented her KIA Soul.
Dunlop, who is retired, says she charges her vehicle at home about 95 per cent of the time and that charging is done off-peak, so electricity costs are minimal.
The rest of the time she uses public charging stations.
Dunlop said she has no regrets about switching to an electric vehicle. had no problems and the Soul offers “an excellent drive”.
Dunlop picked up her KIA Soul last June to give her the opportunity to test drive it in very hot and cold weather. She found that she can travel about 300 kilometers on a full charge in the summer if she doesn’t use the air conditioner.
In winter, the range on a full charge is about 140 miles, using minimal heat to keep warm while driving.
Dunlop’s only complaint is that more needs to be done to increase the number of charging stations.
“The infrastructure needs a lot of help,” she said.
In the arena, the public heard from Joseph Vella von Ryerson, who bought a Tesla Model 3 two years ago.
Like Dunlop, Vella has no regrets about switching to an electric vehicle, telling the audience that although his Tesla cost $51,000, it saved him thousands of dollars in fuel and maintenance costs and that it’s the best vehicle he’s ever had has ever owned.
Vella said electric vehicles don’t need oil-related products or maintenance like changing oil filters, nor will you ever encounter oil pump failure.
He said electric motors are quiet and result in less vibration in the vehicle.
According to Vella, this is significant because constant vibration in fossil fuel vehicles is the leading cause of part failures.
With an EV, Vella says, the owner doesn’t have to worry about the catalytic converter, muffler, valves, pistons or belts because they don’t exist in an EV and never need to be replaced.
Vella says there’s a lower center of gravity due to the placement of gear in the Tesla, which he says results in “tremendous handling.”
According to Vella, batteries for electric vehicles have improved significantly and his Model 3 is designed to last 600,000 kilometers.
“The car will probably wear out before you have to replace the battery,” Vella said.
He adds that battery efficiency has also improved. For example, he can get a full battery charge at home for $4.
Vella urged the audience not to believe the hype that the existing power grid would not be able to cope with the additional demand if almost everyone suddenly switched to an electric vehicle.
Vella said the network experiences peak periods during the workday.
Demand plummets when people have gone home after work and are charging their electric cars and trucks during this off-peak period.
Vella said electric vehicles make vacations cheaper.
Last year he and his wife traveled to Sydney Nova Scotia, driving 3,500 miles in the Model 3 and charging the battery at various points and locations during the round trip, for a total cost of $266.
This also included charging the battery at public charging stations.
Vella has found that the public charging system is not as reliable as Tesla’s infrastructure and also, as Dunlop said, that more charging stations are needed.
Al Bottomley, spokesman for Almaguin Climate Action, said the technology is still relatively new, but added that we will see more charging stations.
He said there is a lot of disinformation about electric vehicles and Canada is lagging behind many other countries in adopting them.
Bottomley said China is expected to produce six million electric vehicles this year and India is on the verge of becoming a major producer. He urged listeners to lobby their MPP and MP to bring more EVs to Canada.
In 2022, Almaguin Climate Action appeared before local councilors and urged every community to consider purchasing an electric vehicle if possible when it comes time to replace their current internal combustion engine cars and trucks.
At some point, Bottomley will appear again before Almaguin councilors and explain the need to isolate municipal buildings from energy sources such as natural gas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Bottomley said the climate group will also soon be holding another public meeting that will focus on getting people to stop heating their homes with fossil fuels.
Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter working at the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Canadian government.