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On Location: ElectraFest 2014

From classic California road trip tales with modern electric twists to labour-of-love projects like sprucing up a Porsche with an electric motor, there was no shortage of stories to illustrate how people are embracing electric vehicles at Saturday’s ElectraFest, the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association’s (VEVA) 19th annual showcase.

“Butts in seats is what it comes down to, the more people we can get test driving the cars the better” was how J-M Toriel, one of VEVA’s directors, summed up the event’s focus. From his standpoint, car people love torque and acceleration, and when they get behind the wheel of an EV they will see that these cars really deliver. Held on Vancouver’s waterfront, the event successfully drew in a diverse crowd of over 700 onlookers eager to test drive the latest EV models and learn more about the emerging market.

With 93 public charging stations throughout Vancouver, 680 more across the province, and 30 plus fast-charging stations on the way, being an EV owner in British Columbia keeps getting easier. Raymond Louie, one of two Vancouver city councillors on hand at the event, sees EVs as an important part of the city’s greenhouse gas reduction plan. Louie and his colleagues are now working to support the uptake of EVs through policies such as mandating that all new housing developments in the city must provide EV chargers for at least 20 percent of their residents.

The City of Vancouver is also taking the wheel, as its fleet now holds 28 Mitsubishi i-MiEVS. According to Louie, EVs are ideal for the daily commutes of city staff. In addition to the environmental benefit, he states there is an emerging business case from the lower operating costs of the vehicles.

Building on these progressive developments, Electrafest attendees are advocating for increased government measures, such as tax rebates and HOV lane access, to keep speeding up the transition.

As people decide to make the switch, Bruce Stout, president of VEVA, says the organization is always there for people as an “EV support group,” where interested consumers can get real advice from real electric drivers.

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