After more than 25 years of pondering the possibilities of owning my very own electric vehicle (EV) I’ve finally taken the plunge. Today I purchased a Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle, a 2017 Chevrolet Volt.
The Volt operates as a pure battery electric vehicle until its battery capacity drops to a predetermined threshold from full charge. From there its internal combustion engine powers an electric generator to extend the vehicle’s range as needed. The Volt’s regenerative braking also contributes to the on-board electricity generation.
The second generation Volt improved battery system and drivetrain increased the all-electric range to 53 miles (85 km), its EPA rated fuel economy in charge-sustaining mode to 42 mpg-US (5.6 L/100 km), and the combined city/highway fuel economy in all-electric mode to 106 MPG-e, up from 98 MPG-e.
The Volt’s range extending engine eliminates the worry of range anxiety, or running out of power once the battery is depleted. Also, the Volt can be plugged into any standard 110 volt household power source for overnight charging or a Level 2 – 240 volt – charger for a fast three or four hour charge.
At 85 km pure electric I anticipate that my travel needs will be easily handled in all electric 90% of the time. This freedom from the gas pump eliminates pollutants from spewing into our urban environment, both air pollution as well as noise, owing to the silent engine.
I’ve long promoted the EV movement politically. I’ve advocated for the City of Cote Saint-Luc to purchase EVs and to install public charging stations. CSL will install its first charging stations this year and we are planning the purchase of EVs for our municipal fleet. I’ve also encouraged the Jewish General Hospital and West-Central Montreal Health network to install charging stations at each site. Some already have such installations, others will follow soon.
In my many encounters with Mount Royal Member of the National Assembly, Pierre Arcand, I’ve often spoken of my thoughts on the Quebec government doing much more to promote EVs. Currently the province offers an $8000 rebate on EVs (thank you very much) as well as a subsidy for charging stations, free passage on provincial ferries and usage of High Occupancy Vehicle lanes even with one person on board. Ontario, by comparison, offers rebates up to $14,000. With a goal of 100,000 EVs on Quebec roads by 2020 the government will have to do much more to move current numbers beyond the 8500 EVs in the province. The proliferation of public charging stations on highways and urban centres will be a move in the right direction. The government should easily order every department, agency and ministry under its authority to install such infrastructure. Schools and health centres, city halls and libraries, sports centres and parks should all be equipped with this equipment.
So, off I go on this new journey, finding new roads, silently. I hope some of you will join me.