It’s four months into 2015, and we’ve all pretty much gotten over the fact that hover cars aren’t a thing yet. Still, electric cars aren’t a bad consolation prize in the “crazy futuristic inventions” lottery.
Green Rock E.V.S., the province’s only 100% electric vehicle dealer, is encouraging people in the province to get on board with the electric car.
Here’s the basics: an electric vehicle can make it approximately 150 km on one charge, a charge costs around $2.50, and it takes about 8 hours to get a full charge (30 minutes at a commercial charging station, rather than at home).
A motor vehicle that doesn’t pump out exhaust is a nice idea. It’s even nicer that it’s not reliant on using dinosaur bones as fuel.
One drawback is the fact that cold weather climates can hinder the performance of electric cars. Considering our northern location, could this affect the adoption of electric cars in the NL market? Green Rock E.V.S. is optimistic. “When it comes to driving in the snow, electric vehicles drive even better than a combustion engine because they are so much heavier,” says Sarah Halliday, Sales and Marketing Rep at Green Rock E.V.S. “In extreme cold, the range does deplete a little, as it does in a gas car,” says Halliday. To improve the range in cold weather, Green Rock recommends making smarter choices, like using the heated steering wheel and seat to warm the driver instead of cranking heat throughout the car’s interior. “This saves on range and also keeps you warm,” she says. “There are climate control options and an eco-driving mode that also increases the range.”
“I drive an electric vehicle and have had no issues whatsoever this winter,” says Halliday. “Newfoundland and Labrador actually has a great climate for electric cars. Our climate is very similar to that of Norway where electric vehicles thrive.”
It’s true: winter temps in Norway range between -10°C in January and 16°C in July, whereas Newfoundland has still slightly warmer winters (hovering around freezing) and comparable summers. However, in Norway, the colder climate hasn’t killed the electric car. In fact, the fleet of plug-in electric vehicles in Norway is the largest per capita in the world, with Oslo recognized as the electric vehicle capital of the world. Roughly 1 in a 100 passenger cars in Norway is an electric. The fact that almost 100% of the electricity generated in the country comes from hydro power also makes it one of the cleanest in the world.
In addition to selling electric vehicles (Tesla, Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt … and even electric bicycles for those moments you just don’t wanna peddle up a St. John’s hill), Green Rock has a service centre for their cars, and are training mechanics throughout the island. “Our goal is simple, to provide the opportunity for anyone in Newfoundland & Labrador to go electric and make an environmental impact while saving time and money.” Electric Vehicles produce zero tailpipe emissions, and instead of an engine under the hood, it’s storage space. Less moving parts and components than a normal car motor means no oil or filter changes and less general wear and tear, and it costs a mere two bucks to drive 100km.
Newfoundland and Labrador’s Green Fund recently funded the installation of more electric vehicle charging stations across the province. Whether the people of the province get swept up in the movement remains to be seen, though the City of St. John’s is currently mulling over the possibility of purchasing a pair of electric cars for use by its parking enforcement detail. People are split on how to interpret the move: some see it as more municipal wastage, buying second-hand cars for over $30000 a pop; others see it as a progressive, environmentally-and-fiscally responsible decision. Your mileage may vary.