Calgary’s use of electric vehicles is on the rise

Enmax's fully electric work truck at the Charged Up eclectic vehicle festival in the East Village on Saturday, June 4, 2022. Enmax has production numbers two and three of International's fully electric work trucks. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

The City of Calgary is on the path to 10 per cent electric vehicles on its roads by 2030, and is aiming for 100 per cent by 2050.

Currently, the city fleet is about one per cent electric, with more purchases in the works.

“The Electric and Low Emissions Vehicle Strategy projects that electric vehicle sales in Calgary will grow rapidly over the next three decades as prices continue to drop and more electric vehicle models become available,” said Eric MacNaughton, City of Calgary transportation planning senior transportation engineer.

“By 2030 we expect 10 per cent of vehicles on Calgary’s streets to be electric, which may be further advanced by the federal goal to stop the sale of internal combustion engines by 2035,” he said.

MacNaughton said that they are anticipating almost all vehicles on Calgary’s streets to be electric by 2050.

Electric vehicles crucial for city GHG goals

The City of Calgary will buy more electric vehicles for its own use, but the number of vehicles looked at being purchased has not yet been disclosed said Ward 5 Councillor Raj Dhaliwal.

Dhaliwal said the purchase of electric vehicles by the city is crucial.

“We can eliminate or minimize the use of GHG emission by having an alternative source of energy and at this point what’s available to us is electric vehicles,” he said.

“Based on what we know today, the technology that’s most effective and efficient is electric vehicles.”

The City’s Green Fleet Strategy outlines actions to support strategic direction from Council, climate resiliency goals, and goals to reduce the City’s fleet corporate green house gas emissions.

“Fleet and Inventory has various green initiatives underway, such as the Green Driver Program, Anti-Idling Program, pilots for EVs and alternative fuel studies,” said the City of Calgary’s director of fleet and inventory services, Majid Asefi.

The Green Fleet Strategy is set to go before council in the fall.

Alberta lags behind other provinces in Canada in EV sales

According to data from Statistics Canada, with calculations by University of Calgary economist Blake Shaffer shared on social media, the share of electric vehicles registered in Alberta, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland combined is about 2.3 per cent. Nationally that share is at 7.7 per cent.

The Alberta specific data is not released due to a provincial sharing agreement with the federal agency.

Greg Gillette, owner of EV retailer Go Electric, said that the smaller population base in Calgary for electric vehicles, combined with limited ranges on current models, are limiting factors to sales.

“Going into the mountains and any travel in between cities is there’s a time constraint on it because of the charge time therefore, the distances travelled makes a huge difference,” he said.

Gillette said that more electric vehicles will be eventually be used by consumers as current technology limitations are solved.

“It’ll happen here, as they make a lot of sense for people needing a second vehicle, that makes sense economically. It’s picking up speed, and the price of fuel is pushing that as well,” said Gillette.

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