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Robert Barron column: Lots of questions about electric vehicles

Then there’s the current cost of buying an electric vehicle over gas-powered ones
Robert’s column

It’s interesting that Nanaimo’s Canada Post depot will be the first in the country to have an all-electric corporate delivery fleet.

Canada Post announced last week that the Nanaimo depot will begin using 14 fully electric Ford cargo vans for collection and delivery as part of a pilot project to determine if they are effective and affordable before the Crown corporation decides if it wants to expand the use of electric vehicles at its depots across the country.

“We’re going to be using the details to test out some of those different types of scenarios of how we’re going to operate our electric fleet,” Sally Dam, Canada Post director of urban delivery strategies, said of the initiative.

“So determining if we are going to need to charge them on a nightly basis, how much energy are they going to be consuming on a daily basis, a lot of these data points are going to inform us of how we’re going to move forward to all of our other sites.”

Personally, I think the move away from internal combustion engines that play a big part in global warming is needed, but I’m currently in the market for a new car and I’m very hesitant to purchase a fully electric vehicle at this time, even considering the exorbitant rise in gas prices these days.

As Sally Dam points out, there are still a lot of unknowns about electric vehicles that needed to be sorted out and I’m not sure I want to invest tens of thousands of my personal finances (which are and have always been rather limited) on a technology that’s still very much in an experimental age.

That’s why I get North Cowichan councillor Bruce McKinlay’s concerns over the municipality’s plan to add a new fully electric garbage truck to its fleet, even with big government rebates that are being offered to purchase it.

One of the main reasons I’m not yet ready to buy an electric car is that the infrastructure is just not ready at this point to ensure that I’ll get to where I want to go.

I spend a great deal of time covering a lot of distance in a mainly rural area doing my job in my car, and I don’t have the time to run out of power if there are no charging stations anywhere nearby.

Mind you, there is a big initiative underway to install many more charging stations to make it more convenient for electric-vehicle owners, and the City of Duncan recently announced it plans to add up to three more stations in the downtown core to add to the four it currently operates.

But a lot more are needed before I can trust that I won’t be left stranded in the middle of nowhere with a powerless car.

It also takes time to charge an electric car and many, including me, simply don’t have the time (or patience) to wait around for a full charge.

Then there’s the current cost of buying an electric vehicle over gas-powered ones.

According to a consumers’ report I read recently, the average initial price of an electric car is about $65,000 compared to many gas-powered cars of the same size that are selling for between $32,000 and $44,000.

Even with rebates thrown in to entice car buyers, you’re still paying a lot more.

As well, one of the big reasons people are opting for electric cars these days is the volatile price of fuel that has skyrocketed lately.

But the price of electricity is rising as well, and that fact has led the City of Duncan to recently decide to begin charging people using their stations for the first time.

To be clear, I’m not against the move to eventually eliminate the smelly and polluting gas-powered vehicles from our roads, and I’m sure that over time as the technology becomes more proven and the proper infrastructure is put in place they will become more reliable and less expensive.

But, for now, I’m opting for dependability and affordability.

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