Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/7/2020 (264 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Traffic at fast-charging stations surged last year after electric vehicle registrations in Manitoba got a boost, Statistics Canada data show.
One of the reasons might be the popularity of Tesla and the rise of other manufacturers that produce electric vehicles.
"If you see Teslas at work, or at your favourite venues or, strangely enough, in mountain parks, you realize that it’s possible to have an electric car," said David Checkel, a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Alberta who specializes in conventional and alternative fuels and transportation.
"Even if you can’t afford a $90,000 Tesla, you can take an interest in your $40,000 Mitsubishi and say, ‘Well, maybe I would like this hybrid electric or plug-in hybrid electric.’"
There were 138 battery electric vehicle registrations in 2019, almost double the 73 registrations in 2018, and far surpassing the 19 registrations in 2015. Hybrid electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle registrations also rose: there were 538 hybrid registrations in 2019, compared with 348 in 2018, and there were 134 plug-in hybrid registrations in 2019, which is 33 more than 2018.
Registrations of gasoline- and diesel-fuelled vehicles declined.
In 2019, Manitobans registered 48,318 gasoline-powered vehicles — a drop of more than 3,000 from 2018, and 1,264 diesel-powered vehicles — a drop of more than 200 from 2018.
Checkel said the federal government jolted the electric-vehicle industry.
"The rebate (which launched May 1, 2019) is important," he said.
Buyers of electric vehicles that cost $55,000 or less can get $2,500 or $5,000 back, depending on the vehicle.
The variety of electric vehicles available makes it more desirable to go car shopping, Checkel said. Plus, electric-powered vehicles are built better now than early models, adding to their desirability, he said.
Charging ports in public places spread awareness about the vehicles, Checkel said.
"The fact that (people) see these other charging points means that they could conceivably charge at them, and that’s an encouragement to use them."
Even so, most folks charge their electric cars at home because of convenience, Checkel said.
"I see (electric vehicle sales) continuing to increase, but I just don’t know where it’s going to top out," he said.
Electric car sales at Nott Autocorp have increased almost 300 per cent since 2019, president Trevor Nott said.
"They’re pretty much selling as quick as they land, and often we’re having deposits put on them before they even arrive in stock," Nott said.
Electric and hybrid cars have made up 25 per cent of Nott Autocorp’s sales so far this year; they counted for 10 per cent of sales last year, Nott said. His company shut down for two months because of the pandemic, but since reopening, there’s been a huge demand for cars, he said.
And as electric has gained popularity, diesel has decreased.
"From what I’m seeing, the manufacturers are following suit, and they’re converting a lot of their diesel engines into electric," he said.
John Doerksen, an electrician with John Doerksen Electrical said he’s installed more charging ports in homes this year than in any other year. He’s installed six since January. Last year, he installed two, and he’d only installed three or four before then.
"They’re definitely picking up," Doerksen said.
Robert Elms, the president of Manitoba Electric Vehicle Association, said that electric vehicles save users thousands on fuel per year. And folks who fuel a battery electric car contribute to the provincial government instead of oil industries elsewhere, he said.
The Headliner community journalist
Gabrielle Piché is the community journalist for The Headliner. Gabby is a cub reporter fresh from Red River College’s creative communications program. She majored in journalism and spent the summer of 2020 as an intern at the Winnipeg Free Press. Gabby also has a B.A. in communications from the University of Winnipeg. She reported for newspapers in the Interlake, including the Selkirk Record, in 2019, and received the Eric and Jack Wells Excellence in Journalism award in 2020. When she’s not chasing stories, you can find Gabby listening to podcasts, attempting yoga or petting somebody’s dog Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org