When James Fraser and his wife still had children living at home, an electric vehicle was out of the question.
With so many trips for the various sports teams they were on, the range just wouldn’t have cut it.
Flash forward a few years and it’s exactly what they need. EVs have also come a long way.
“I was replacing a vehicle that was getting a bit older. The kids had all grown up and left and I was thinking about what I use that vehicle for, and it was really running around town and back and forth to our cottage.”
In 2014, James looked at a Nissan Leaf while gas prices had dropped. The dealership had three cars on the lot and was anxious to sell, so he was able to get a good deal.
“The timing was very fortunate.”
He took it for a test drive and was immediately sold on the experience.
“There’s so much to like about driving an electric vehicle – they’re quiet, they’re smooth, and they’re so simple to maintain. I liked the feel of driving it and I thought, ‘this will work really well for us.’”
Once he made the purchase, the dealer put him in touch with a network of electric vehicle owners who also owned the Leaf. One of them talked about getting a solar panel array set up for charging, which piqued his interest.
Five years later, he hasn’t been disappointed. Short commutes around the city are a breeze and longer trips to and from the cottage in the summer can be done on a full charge, thanks to a charging station installed at the cottage that’s powered by a 32-panel solar array.
But James and his wife were still looking for a second vehicle that would go a little further when they needed it, like on their trips to Ontario, and that would also transport kayaks and bikes for their outdoor adventures.
Enter the Mitsubishi Outlander, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) that gave him more range and versatility.
“When the Outlanders became available, I got on a waitlist right away because it sounded like a reasonable cost and a good vehicle that would suit us for what we need,” says James.
“If you’re one of those people that likes to get on the road and just drive for five or six hours straight, that’s going to be a bit of an issue with the full electrics, but they are getting better and better. But when you do stop it’s going to take a little longer to charge up.”
For those who are on the fence about going electric, he recommends taking one for a test drive.
“I would just really encourage them to try driving them, because they really sell themselves.”
For James, going electric has set off a positive string of events and other changes in his life.
“I feel a little better about using the vehicles and that we’re decreasing our carbon footprint a little bit. It’s also got me into thinking more about that and that’s why we’ve done the solar project on our cottage, and we’re looking for other ways to be more environmentally conscious with the decisions we make.”
As EVs, PHEVs, and the infrastructure needed to charge them become more widely accessible, he hopes more people will soon be able to reap the benefits.
“I think this is the way of the future, I really do.”
EVAssist is brought to you by Natural Resources Canada, Nova Scotia Department of Energy and Mines, and Clean Foundation with the support of Nova Scotia Power.
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