Like any major decision in life, Christine Van Den Meerche recommends doing research before investing in a vehicle.
The change for her when she purchased a vehicle – a Tesla Model S – was the decision to move from traditional gas-powered to electric.
It was a decision which came with research, education and a significant financial investment.
The co-founder of the Comox Valley Electric Vehicle Association and co-ordinator of an upcoming electric vehicle event in the Comox Valley admits the cost upfront of purchasing an electric vehicle is more than a traditional gas vehicle but said if you do the number crunching, the savings over a few years will become visible.
She, along with other members of the CVEVA, hopes to educate and inspire others to consider not only electric vehicles but electric bikes and alternative modes of transportation at the Comox Valley event celebrating National Drive Electric Week on Sept. 21 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Simms Millennium Park in Courtenay.
“There is very little maintenance in an electric vehicle because there’s very few moving parts. It’s quite different than a traditional internal combustion engine,” she explains.
Van Den Meerche says while it depends on the brand of electric vehicle, she receives servicing from a roving tech across the Island, whom she meets in Nanaimo.
Other than tires and brakes, she said any issues that do arise are generally electric in nature, and some can even be fixed remotely.
Previously with her gas-powered vehicle which she kept for 12 years, Van Den Meerche estimates she spent between $2,500 to $3,000 a year on maintenance – a cost which does not include fuel.
According to Tesla, with an estimated gasoline cost of $1,300 to $2,300 a year per vehicle, the savings of owning a Model 3 (their entry-level electric vehicle) over six years (the average length of car ownership) is between $6,700 and $11,200 in gasoline savings.
She notes cost is a topical question for many people considering purchasing an EV, and adds there are different approaches people can take to make an EV a realistic purchase.
“One thing to do is to make a pledge to yourself that your next car could be an EV. If you start that now, you can begin with a plan.”
Alternatively, she suggests looking at certified pre-owned EVs, which are another cost-effective way to purchase a vehicle.
Tesla is only one brand of EV, she says, and now many other car companies including Chevrolet, Nissan and Kia are producing EV at various price points.
Just like gas-powered vehicles, “there’s different fits for different people,” and she notes there are a few companies who are currently developing EV trucks.
The EV show and shine event along with National Drive Electric Week is a celebration not only to share information and bring awareness to EVs, but to show a sense of moving forward to a better way, explains Van Den Meerche.
“To have a part of living green and to provide a better future for a younger generation is very satisfying to be a part of. It’s becoming more attainable for more people. Nobody is trying to say EVs are perfect, but they have less consumption of fossil fuels in order to provide a cleaner environment.”
Along with information and vehicles on display at the event on Sept. 21, three local car dealers will have cars available for test drives, along with e-bikes and e-scooters on display.