Electric vehicle owners charged up about Victoria event

DriveElectricVictoria set for Sept. 17 in the Central middle school parking lot

You can check out some of the latest electric vehicles and even go for a spin during DriveElectricVictoria, Sept. 17 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Central middle school, 1280 Fort St.

Victoria electric vehicle owners will be plugging their preferred mode of transportation at an upcoming event.

DriveElectricVictoria is set for Sunday Sept. 17 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Central Middle School parking lot, 1280 Fort St. It is one or more than 200 events taking place across North America as part of the seventh annual National Drive Electric Week, Sept. 9 to 17.

“This isn’t a car show and isn’t a sales event. There will be some parked electric vehicles (EVs) displayed with owners nearby ready to answer questions,” said local event organizer Jeremey Janzen. “Most of the EV owners are offering rides in their vehicles on a short route, and some are offering test drives on the same route. This is free to the public, and meant to offer education on how EVs fit nearly all driving scenarios, are more fun, and are far cheaper to operate than a normal internal combustion engine vehicle. The hidden benefit of course is they are emission-free, so everyone can breathe easy.”

EV drivers are no longer an anomaly. Electric cars are entering the mainstream, with major roll-outs recently and more coming from multiple manufacturers over the next two years. The next generation Nissan LEAF was just released Sept. 5; Chrysler debuted the world’s first-ever plug-in hybrid electric minivan a few months ago; and more than 450,000 fans eagerly await their delivery of Tesla Model 3, released in July.

“In 2014, we hosted our first EV Ride+Drive” said DriveElectricVictoria founder Gerry Gaydos. “We put a couple hundred butts into EV seats using only 15 volunteer electric vehicles during a four-hour Sunday morning event. Those were mostly people who had never been in an EV before.”

He said every EV owner he’s met made the decision to move up to an EV the moment they drove one. “Sometimes they take a few months to organize the purchase, but the test drive is the turning point.”

DriveElectricVictoria volunteer Sandy Allegretto glows when she speaks of her 2015 BMW i3. “I commute over the Malahat from Cobble Hill to Oak Bay every day and charge at home 98 per cent of the time.” said Allegretto. “The car is quick and fun to drive, but more importantly to me, it’s reported to be one of the most energy efficient cars, even among EVs, that I could buy and drive on the highway. I love it.”

Gaydos called southern Vancouver Island “EV heaven.

“Our relatively short daily travel distances, moderate highway speeds and slopes, sublime climate, cleaner than average electric power grid – at 92 per cent hydroelectric – and massive untapped potential for distributed generation of home-grown electricity from rooftop solar on residential and business buildings make this an ideal place to drive electric, even with an older EV.”

Janzen said there will be an array of factory-built models of cars you can currently buy new in Canada, as well as a few used EVs imported from the U.S.

“People can meet our cars and talk to us about our ownership experiences, getting straight up answers to their questions without the distraction of a sales pitch. We encourage people to come out on Sunday, Sept. 17 and find out the future that is coming.”