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First electric vehicle charges up at VBDS
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Ed Tanas, regional director of Sun Country Highway, speaks to Mayor Tom Grant, town councillor Paul Taylor, Vulcan Business Development Society (VBDS) administrative assistant Ashlee Beck, and VBDS manager of business development Marilyn MacArthur, about the features of his 2015 Kia Soul EV as it charges at the recently installed VBDS electric vehicle charging station.

Derek Wilkinson, October 31, 2015 - Vulcan Advocate

Vulcan recently took another step forward in becoming the most technologically advanced small town in Alberta Oct. 20 as the first electric vehicle rolled into town to use the newly-installed electric vehicle charging station at the Vulcan Business Development Society (VBDS) office.

Ed Tanas, regional director for Sun Country Highway, brought his 2015 Kia Soul EV, the only one of its kind currently in Alberta, to town from Okotoks.

“It felt great to have him here. I was very happy because Ed was very enthusiastic about the charger being here and his enthusiasm was quite catching,” said Marilyn MacArthur, manager of business development at VBDS.

Sun Country Highway is responsible for the charging station at the VBDS building, provided at no cost as part of its ‘Municipal Destination Program’. The program offers up to three electric vehicle (EV) charging stations for no cost, all the property needs to provide is installation, reads a release on Sun Country Highway’s website. The station was installed Oct. 9 by a local company, Rhodes Electric.

Tanas said the charging station at the VBDS building runs for roughly $800.

“We have (EV charging stations) set up all across Canada,” said Tanas during an interview with the Advocate.

“What we’re trying to do is encourage green travel and green eco-tourism. We’re trying to situate our charging stations in as many places as we can,” he said, adding they’re trying to set up the stations close enough to one another to accommodate the battery ranges of common electric vehicles, like the Nissan Leaf and the Kia Soul EV, which can travel roughly 170 kilometres on a single battery charge. Tanas said his Soul EV gets the gas mileage equivalent of about 138 miles per gallon. Higher end electric vehicles, like the new Tesla Model S for example, can travel up to 435 kilometres on a single charge.

Tanas said a typical charge on an empty lithium-ion battery, like the one used in his Kia, takes roughly three to four hours. MacArthur is well aware of the amount of time it takes for an electric vehicle to charge, and hopes electric motorists will use the down time to inject some money into the local economy.

“We want to support the whole idea of a technologically advanced community, and I think electric vehicles are going to become more popular in the future, probably sooner than later, and this allows us to get on the map,” she said, adding the charging station will be displayed on maps in electric vehicles pointing drivers to nearby charging stations.

“This offers them a location between Lethbridge and Calgary or High river or Okotoks, to actually pull in, charge, walk around, have some lunch, do some shopping, and once they’re charged up they can motor along.”

Tanas said he typically pays five cents per kilowatt to charge his electric vehicle at home which equates to roughly a “dollar a day in town to drive about 240 kilometres.” He said he spends about $17 a month on electricity to power his vehicle.

Insurance on an electric vehicle is also cheaper, he said, noting he is charged $20 less every month to insure his vehicle as it has no flammable liquids, aside from trace amounts of hydraulic oil in the gear case. Given the lack of oil in the vehicle, there’s also no reason for regular oil changes, he said. Tanas changes the cabin filter and checks the fluids in his Soul every 6,000 kilometres, and never has to worry about an oil change, he said. While a gas operated 2015 Kia Soul LX runs for roughly $20,000 depending on the features, Tanas said he paid close to $35,000 for his 2015 Kia Soul EV. Tanas said he saves roughly $5,000 every year by not paying for gas and oil changes.

MacArthur said the charging station is a pilot program for VBDS, one she expects will be successful, and hopes that other businesses and attractions in town will adopt and install some of the stations in the future.

Read the article at the Vulcan Advocate