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Test driving event encourages Nova Scotians to make ‘no brainer’ switch to electric vehicles

Click to play video: 'Test driving event encourages Nova Scotians to make ‘no brainer’ switch to electric vehicles' Test driving event encourages Nova Scotians to make ‘no brainer’ switch to electric vehicles
WATCH ABOVE: The Clean Foundation hosted its first 'Charged Up' test drive event in Dartmouth, N.S. on Sunday, to help debunk some of the misconceptions about electric vehicles. As Elizabeth McSheffrey reports, there are more than 160 EV charging stations spread throughout the province, and more rebates available to buyers than ever before – Jul 11, 2021

Nova Scotians of all ages had the opportunity to test drive electric vehicles on Sunday in an event aimed at promoting the financial and environmental benefits of buying an EV.

Half a dozen EV models were on display at the Clean Foundation’s ‘Charged Up’ showcase, including a tiny red rechargeable car suitable for children, and an electric bicycle.

“There’s lots of misconceptions about how far they can go, what happens when you drive them,” explained Clean Foundation clean transportation manager Sarah Balloch.

“This is a really good opportunity for folks to really see it’s very similar to what they would normally drive, just a little bit quieter and a little bit more fun.”

READ MORE: With much at stake, environmental groups urge public to weigh in on new climate consultation

The provincial Department of Energy and Mines funded the Clean Foundation to create Next Ride, a non-profit low carbon transportation campaign whose goal is to popularize EVs in Nova Scotia.

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There are more than 160 electric charging stations scattered throughout the province and about $8,000 in provincial and federal government rebates available to EV buyers.

“We’re saving lots of money on gas, we’re not even really going to gas stations anymore, and there’s enough fast-charging stations across the province,” said electric vehicle owner and A for Adventure CEO Chris Surette.

“There’s apps that tell you where to go — it’s really becoming quite easy to drive these things.”

A map of Nova Scotia’s electric vehicle charging network, on display at the ‘Charge Up’ EV test drive event in Dartmouth on July 11, 2021. Elizabeth McSheffrey/Global News

David Giles, vice-president of All EV Canada, said in addition to cheap charging, electric vehicles have a much longer lifespan than their gasoline-powered relative.

“A car that’s getting 200, 300, 400,000 kilometres is still the same car as it was on the day it was built because the electric motors usually have only about one part moving in them,” he explained.

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Giles had a frameless, mostly dismantled Tesla on display for visitors, so he could show them how the engine and battery works.

READ MORE: New Brunswick announces rebate program for electric vehicles

Nova Scotia has set a target of reducing its climate-polluting greenhouse gas emissions by 53 per cent by 2030 and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

On Saturday, Premier Iain Rankin also announced a standard that will require 80 per cent of the province’s electricity to come from renewable sources within nine years.

Balloch said she thinks EVs will play a major role in helping Nova Scotia achieve its targets.

“(Electric vehicles are) absolutely a slam dunk for GHG reduction as far as personal vehicle ownership goes,” she told Global News.

“As well, our grid is getting greener everyday — that means that your car is getting greener every day, so it’s really a no brainer, to me, making that switch.”

Eventually, Balloch said the Clean Foundation hopes to host monthly EV test drive events.

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