When Tesla launched its first electric vehicle back in 2008, Lorna – a resident of Invermere, in the East Kootenays – was intrigued. “Unfortunately, it was well outside of my budget,” she says ruefully.
Then, the Chevy Bolt hit the market at $45,000 at the same that that Federal and Provincial rebates totalled $8,000 – and Lorna leapt at the chance to own her first EV.
“It’s really alleviated my guilt about driving,” she admits. “I had [such] anxiety about climate change and no desire to contribute to the air pollution that leads to millions of premature deaths worldwide.” With a fully electric vehicle operating on British Columbia’s clean grid, Lorna felt a deep sense of relief.
“I have solar panels, too, and it just feels so great to be part of the solution!” Admittedly, she laughs, “I wish I’d known that the 350-kilometer range can drop by 30% during the winter months – having said that, it wouldn’t have changed my decision.”
Lorna maintains that’s the case for most EV drivers; once you make the switch, there’s no going back. “The majority of EV drivers – something like 99% – wouldn’t consider driving anything else.” Although a 40-minute charging break can, at times, be inconvenient, the chargers are generally located in downtown cores. “It’s an opportunity to check out great restaurants and delightful walking streets.”
She does believe that access to more fast chargers, especially on long road trips, is a key barrier to widespread EV adoption and that public investment in EV infrastructure and technology will be needed in the future.
Even so, she considers the BC Government to be far ahead other provinces in terms of building out an affordable, electrified highway network – Lorna estimates that she’s saved $2,000 on gas bills, to say nothing of future maintenance costs: “It pays to be part of the solution”.