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

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

Published on September 12, 2012
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.
Guardian photo

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.

Charging station locations

• Rossignol Winery in Little Sands;

• East Point Lighthouse;

• Dalvay-by-the-Sea

• Montague;

• Stratford;

• Delta Prince Edward in Charlottetown;

• North Cape;

• Bottle House in Wellington;

• Summerside;

• and Kensington.