P.E.I. rolls out welcome mat for electric cars

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Charging stations allow drivers with electric vehicles to travel across province without burning a drop of gas

Mayor Richard Collins enjoys the silence of a $125,000 electrically powered Tesla roadster as waterfront chairman Niall MacKay powers it up at the EV charging unit now available at the Montague waterfront.

Prince Edward Island is the first province to “keep the motors running’’ when it comes to electrical vehicles.

“We’ve got 10 charging stations across the province now and this is just the beginning for the rest of the country,’’ says Stephen Bieda, regional director with Sun Country Highway, said in Montague Tuesday.

“The electric car will soon be the most major transportation source in the country and we want to help green Canada’s highways.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE LIST OF CHARGING STATION LOCATIONS

Sun Country Highway, based in Saskatoon, is getting a jump on the curve. The company is providing the first 100 per cent publicly accessible EV charging network in Canada, and it is absolutely free.

Christopher Misch, vice-president and business development with Sun Country, says no one has to worry about stopping at the gas pumps anymore.

“They are 68 kilometres apart,’’ Misch said, referring to the charging stations, “and now people with electric vehicles can travel throughout P.E.I. without burning a drop of gas, making it the most (environmentally) friendly (province) in all of Canada.’’

Bieda said most electric car owners will charge at home.

“But with charging units available to the public across the country, no electric vehicle owner will have to worry about power. We will be the first country in the world to be connected.”

The charging stations are located at the Rossignol Winery, East Point Lighthouse, Dalvay-by-the-Sea, Montague, Stratford, Delta Prince Edward Island, North Cape, Bottle House in Wellington, Summerside and Kensington.

The company provided a demonstration Tuesday when reps rolled in to Montague and Charlottetown with a Chevrolet Volt from Hemphill Motors in Charlottetown and a $125,000 Tesla roadster to raise the excitement.

The cars are absolutely silent and engineered to drive for hours before needing a charge.

The Tesla roadster will go 400 kilometres on a single charge while the Volt can travel 65 to 70 kilometres on a charge but has a gas tank as a backup, which acts as a generator for the electric engine.

They arrived at the Montague waterfront around noon where the free 90-amp, free charging system is now available at the waterfront train shed and visitor information centre.

“We’re trying to enable a more stable transportation option and to alleviate the anxiety people typically have with something new,’’ said Bieda.

“Now we can have a more sustainable transportation option.”

Sun Country Highway also represents pickup truck versions and even electric vans that can seat up to seven.

Misch said they wanted to kickstart their efforts in small-size P.E.I. where the economy has a tendency to struggle when industries like tourism, agriculture and the fishery have weak seasons.

“We wanted to create an economically sustainable P.E.I. but also an environmentally sustainable P.E.I. and we do that by greening the Island. It was something we could manage,’’ Misch said, referring to P.E.I.’s size.

Organizations: Bottle House, Sun Country, Hemphill Motors

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, P.E.I., Montague Canada Charlottetown Saskatoon North Cape Wellington Summerside Little Sands Kensington

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  • Brian
    November 06, 2012 - 12:04

    This is fantastic! I'm fresh out of college (22 years old) and I'm still using my parents car, but I said 5 years ago "The first car I own will be electric." People thought I was a fool. Well, look who's laughing now! Hopefully more charging stations will be installed at public locations (say at gas stations, grocery stores, etc.) so range anxiety will fade away completely. I'd love to get the Tesla Model S but on my salary that'd hardly be possible! I may have to wait a while but whatever my first car is, it will be electric!

  • Bruce Boland
    September 15, 2012 - 11:18

    Wow, that Sun Country crowd sure gets around. They were just here in BC installing a bunch of charge stations. I can now drive the full length and width of Vancouver Island with my Nissan LEAF, which is how I know. Plus, I'm saving just over $500/mth on gas. (averaging 2000 kms a mth) Granted, PEI isn't quite as large, but I bet you have more tourists per capita. Not to mention, that nice red sand/soil. And much nicer weather than my home Island, NFLD. Speaking of which, does anyone know if they're planning on installing stations on The Rock? It's an Island too! Now, if someone there named Anne, had a Nissan LEAF and insisted on her charge cable being green...would she be known as "Anne of Green ...?" (I'm sorry, I tried to resist but lost in the end) Kudos to PEI for getting ahead of the curve on this one. Bruce

  • Independant
    September 12, 2012 - 20:12

    Is this HST exempt lmao

    • Hemphill Chevrolet
      September 14, 2012 - 08:57

      Credit to Sun Country for putting their money where their mouth is, by putting this infrastructure in place, privately on their own. We wish them much success in their investment in the future. Someone had to build the first gas station 100 yrs ago :) PEI currently offers a rebate on PST paid, up to $3000 on purchases of electric vehicles. The Chevy Volt with its extended range capability is the most practical EV for real life, *Hemphill Chevrolet Buick GMC Ltd. is in Summerside, PEI.

  • Doug
    September 12, 2012 - 14:09

    That's neat and a great beginning. Does PEI offer any incentives to purchasing an electric vehicle?

  • What??
    September 12, 2012 - 13:50

    It's the bottlehouse in Wellington, a charging station in Summerside, and another charging station in Kensington....duh.

  • cheers
    September 12, 2012 - 13:22

    On the news last night it looked like older guys having youth flash backs. So, that was kinda cool. Smiles all around.

  • grapes
    September 12, 2012 - 13:05

    WOW, You could of at least a hot blonde to sit in the car.

  • tim tonkin
    September 12, 2012 - 12:57

    Who is paying for this ? There is no way a private company is doing it so who is paying?

  • Guy Cousineau
    September 12, 2012 - 12:48

    Why is it that the "good news" stories gather no comments? However I have a clarifying question: exactly where are the charging stations? The list in the article is confusing. I know there is no bottle house in Summerside nor in Kensington

    • pajoas
      September 12, 2012 - 14:00

      Why would you put charging stations on the points. Wouldn't you want each one to cover as much area as possible. Say anyone in West Prince for example would have to go to North Cape that's a waste.