Electric cars get spotlight at symposium
Vehicles that some say are the future of transportation were front and centre at the Palais des Congres on Sunday, as the convention centre played host to the International Electric Vehicle Symposium.
For those concerned about price, the symposium provided plenty of information on the relative affordability of fuel compared to traditional engines. The average cost of charging an electric car is $200, a substantial amount less than the $2,000 estimated for internal combustion models.
Still, many models require a substantial initial investment: a Kia Soul starts at $35,000 while the more upscale BMW I3 costs $45,000.
“They are more expensive when you buy them, but they are so much cheaper to operate,” said Equiterre’s Steven Guilbeault, adding there are many government rebates that can help bring down the initial price.
The symposium comes in the midst of a major push by the city of Montreal to provide the infrastructure necessary for an increasing amount of electric cars.
“The city of Montreal will implement hundreds of charging stations,” said city councillor Elsie Lefebvre. “We have 1,000 as an objective in 2020.”
She added that the city hopes charging stations in every borough will provide incentive to go electric for Montrealers with no garages in which to install charging stations.
There is also a push to make travel easier for those taking their cars outside the city’s confines.
“Nowawadays, there are fast-charging stations on highways and your car will tell you when the next one is,” said Quebec Association of Electric Vehicles spokesperson Simon-Pierre Rioux. “So, you can stop over, have a 10 minute break, fast charge and keep going, that’s $3.00.”
For those doubting whether electric vehicles can stand up to Montreal’s harsh winters, Guilbeault pointed out the world leader in adopting the vehicles isn’t California, but Norway, a country not known for its pleasant winters.