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North Huron steps onto the green highway
2013-08-09
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Advance-Times, Pauline Kerr – August, 07, 2013

Imagine planning a weekend jaunt north from London, Kitchener-Waterloo or Toronto in your sporty new electric car.

You visit the Sun Country Highway website to see where there are places to recharge the car, and view information about each community with charging stations.

While you recharge your car in Wingham, you visit the North Huron Museum, stop at one of the excellent local restaurants for lunch, and do some shopping at downtown stores with the money you used to spend on gas. You return home refreshed, and happy in the knowledge your car made almost no noise, created no exhaust fumes, and got you to and from your destination quickly and comfortably. That dream is close to becoming reality.

Sun Country Highway vice-president Chris Misch visited Wingham Thursday, Aug. 1 in his sporty Tesla Roadster as part of a three-day tour of communities with charging stations – up the Sun Coast’s Highway 21 to Owen Sound, and back to London via Highway 4 through Hanover, Wingham, Clinton and Exeter.
Sun Country Highway has partnered with 11 organizations, including seven municipalities and four progressive businesses, to launch the expansion of the Sun Country Highway EV Charging network.

Misch, who grew up in Huron County, visited North Huron council earlier in the year to propose the municipality purchase a charging station. He explained to council that while electric vehicles aren’t common right now, they will be. And Wingham would be on the leading edge of the move to sustainable transportation.

At the official announcement of Wingham’s new charging station Aug. 1, Misch commended council on its “progressive leadership. They saw the vision and acted on it,” he said.

Dave Inglis, a local resident and businessman who drives his electric car often, said he hasn’t seen much difference in his electric bill. Reeve Neil Vincent commented Sun Country is showing how electric cars will be a step into the future. “We’re putting the infrastructure in place for more electric cars,” he said.

Misch explained Sun Country is now in over 100 municipalities across Canada. The message is the same wherever he goes – it’s a way of greening Canada’s highways, and making our country a world leader in environmentally sustainable travel and ecotourism.

And there’s a strong economic impact for rural communities like Wingham. “We don’t want people to drive through Wingham,” he said. “We want them to stop and buy things.”

Misch described touring Ontario’s west coast in his electric vehicle as “amazing.”

Electric cars aren’t an urban novelty any longer. With his company’s commitment to “green highways,” they’re within reach of rural residents. Mische said the cost of gasoline makes today’s internal combustion engine vehicles “unsustainable. We need to do something.”

He and those on the tour noted the cost of electric cars is comparable to quality gas-powered vehicles ($40,000-$100,000). They perform well on the highways. The one he was driving gets close to 400 kilometres before it needs to be recharged, and can accelerate to close to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds.

The most noticeable difference is the cost of fuel – there isn’t any. And that could save someone who drives a lot a good $250-$300 a month. It takes about $1 worth of electricity to charge the car for an hour.

Following the stop in Wingham with the mock-up of the charging unit (the actual one should be installed in September, and discussions are underway on the best place to install it), the tour proceeded to Blyth. The Old Mill has a charging station and was, in fact, one of the first places in the area to get one.

Read the article at Southwestern Ontario