Charging right into the current discussion over climate change in Calgary, the Charged Up festival put prospective electric vehicle drivers in direct contact with owners on June 5.
The battery of cars, trucks, bikes, and electric motorcycles were on hand to help build a positive opinion by the public for the future of EVs in the city.
The festival, which was held at the Riverside Plaza in the East Village next to Bow Cycle E-Bikes, allowed owners to answer questions about what it’s like to use EVs for daily driving, and for work.
“This is a great place to come down and explore and ask questions and find out what the facts are,” said Greg Gillette, an event coordinator with the Charged Up festival.
“It is oil and gas country here, so it’s a little bit tougher sale, and there’s, I think, some myths, misconceptions and conceptions about electric vehicles,” he said.
On hand were a number of businesses, both large and small, that are currently using everything from electric Smart Cars to custom-built International Trucks as part of their everyday business.
Gillette, who’s also the general manager for Calgary-based GoElectric, said that the work aspect of EVs has been a missed opportunity by manufacturers thus far.
“Electric vehicles have a little bit lower range, but if you’re a plumber or electrician or anything like that, and you’re driving a known range within Calgary, they’re super cheap to operate,” he said.
EVs save one business thousands per year
Chad McKinley, who runs Mayland Appliance Repairs, is a Calgary business owner who made the switch from gas to electric.
He found that his F150 was costing him between $1,200 to $1,300 in fuel a month, near the end of 2021.
“I was like ‘OK, we got to change this out,'” he said.
McKinley turned a Chevy Bolt into a mobile repair vehicle, which he said perfectly meets his needs. He removed the back seats and installed tool cases in their place. He uses a trailer now instead of the F150’s flatbed to haul appliances for repair or installation.
“Some people appreciate it, due to the sustainability and environmental reasons. Really for me, it was just financial. It made a lot of sense to avoid that cost of gas,” he said.
McKinley acknowledged that in certain situations, long distances could be challenging, but for regular city use, there isn’t an issue with range. He said that on a recent refrigeration call to Edmonton, he had to make a 45-minute stop in Red Deer to fast charge.
“There’s some challenges, but most of the time I don’t see any,” he said.
Not just four-wheeled vehicles
Bird was also on hand to show off their recent e-bike additions to their existing fleet of motorized scooters for rent.
The Canadian company has been permitted to add 100 bikes to the city, in addition to the 750 scooters they have now.
Tyler Zech, market manager for Calgary, said that the bikes would largely be deployed around the river pathways, and the city’s bike lanes.
He said that e-bikes were another way of providing consumers options for mobility in the city.
“The scooters have been a really effective way for people to be able to get around the city, whether it’s to commute or just for fun,” he said.
“Now with the bikes, it just opens up the door for people that would prefer to bike to the scooters.”
Zech said they added the bikes after receiving considerable demand for them from their customers.