Kent Rathwell of Sun Country Highway, right, and Steve Arnold of the Around the Sea Rotating House in Rustico charge a Tesla Roadster with the home’s electric charger on Sunday. The unique house is the first location on P.E.I.’s North Shore to implement an electric car charging station. Guardian photo by Mitch MacDonald
RUSTICO - Individuals, businesses or municipalities don’t have to wait on provincial or federal governments before implementing new and innovative electric vehicle infrastructure.
That was evident through the E-Mazing Race electric car tour, which saw a group of individuals travelling across North America finish their endeavor in P.E.I. on Sunday.
The tour, which started in early September saw about 50 participants in total along the route.
About 20 were in P.E.I. for the end of the tour, with the vehicles on full display at the Around the Sea Rotating House in Rustico Sunday.
Kent Rathwell, president and founder of Sun Country Highway, said P.E.I. was chosen as the last stop for a number of reasons.
It is the first province, nation or state to have electric vehicle charging stations from tip to tip and is also the first to have 100 per cent of its highways electrified, he said.
“Meaning you can take an electric car anywhere on the Island and be able to charge up,” he said. “We just keep bumping it up to get that awareness out, hopefully people on P.E.I. will realize it’s possible and people around the world will come to P.E.I. to check it out.”
Many government initiatives to fund electric vehicle infrastructure have failed, he said.
“Our message to the provincial and federal governments around the world is to leave it up to municipalities and businesses to implement what’s right for them,” he said. “We’ve really tried to put average Canadians, businesses and municipalities in a position where they can help provinces and the federal government implement infrastructure.”
Summerside is the leading municipality in terms of the having the most electric vehicle charging stations per capita.
Canada also has the largest network of chargers in the world for the vehicles, he said.
“They’re here at the bed and breakfast and in various places across municipalities, hotels, restaurants and some gas stations. It’s really anywhere that people go,” he said. “You go can go across the continent with 100 per cent electric cars and you can do it for free.”
The vehicles and charging stations weren’t the only piece of innovation on display Sunday.
The final stop was at the Rotating House in Rustico, chosen because it has the first charging station on the North Shore of P.E.I.
It is free for use to anyone with an electric car.
Steve Arnold, who owns the house with his wife Stephanie, had the house open for its official “tour launch” Sunday after opening it for business in July.
He said installing the charger was a natural fit for the one-of-a-kind house, which was originally a Deltec home that was then engineered to rotate. The Arnolds got their inspiration from another rotating house in Australia.
“We tried to make the house as environmentally friendly and conscious as possible,” he said. “I think it will be a while before we get a ton of electric cars here but you need to have charging stations first.
“If you build it they will come.”
Arnold treated the E-Mazing Race finalists to a tour before opening the house to the public as a fundraiser for the P.E.I. Chapter of the Children’s Wish Foundation.
He said those tours will continue and that he is also now looking to begin developing similar rotating homes in other areas of the country.