Electric Avenue

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I talked about electric autonomous cars last week, but I wanted to talk about plain old electric cars and what Alberta can do to become a leader in electric car usage.

One of the biggest problems with electric cars is the range.  Many cars have a limited range of 200 miles or less.  Calgary is around 180 miles away from Edmonton, so it makes it very dicey as to whether or not you can get to Calgary on a single charge.  If you’re using electricity for other things then you probably won’t make it.  So what do you do?

Here’s where the government can take a leadership position.  Just like Red Deer currently has Gasoline Alley, the Government, in conjunction with other levels of government and private companies, could establish the equivalent area, but for electric vehicles.  Set up a charging station for different types of electric vehicles.

Located at the charging station would be car manufacturers that have electric vehicles and want to show them off.  Charge them some rent to offset the cost of space.  This way if you wanted an electric vehicle, from almost any manufacturer, you know where you can go to take a look and perhaps test drive them

Set up a spot for the Government of Alberta to tout the benefits of electric cars.  Reduced carbon emissions, good for the environment, practical for both intra-city and inter-city transportation.

Use this new facility to introduce a tax rebate on electric vehicles like other provinces  Even tie it in with a trade-in of a gas vehicle.  (Ex. $xxxx tax rebate on a new electric car, but add $yyyy if you trade in an existing gas vehicle to do so.)

Talking about electric vehicles does more than just blow wind, however, as increased consumer optimism about electric will call forth the businesses.  If Alberta is a leader in electric car sales per capita, does this mean that battery manufacturers would be interested in locating in the market?  What about when the electric batteries need to be replaced (yes, they do), what happens to them?  Recycling programs could be created and shown off at this new “Electric Avenue”.

Indeed, the concept could spread beyond just electric cars, but to show Albertans what the future of Alberta will look like.  Energy efficient housing?  Solar panels for residential and businesses?  How smart appliances save money, electricity and the future.

It requires a vision.  Someone who understands that the world is changing and that we need to acknowledge that change and move forward.

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