Plugging in to electric cars

Oak Bay councillor gives green a go

Oak Bay Coun. Tara Ney shows off the electric car she’s been driving around Oak Bay and Victoria lately

Oak Bay Coun. Tara Ney shows off the electric car she’s been driving around Oak Bay and Victoria lately

Oak Bay councillor Tara Ney is attracting plenty of attention lately. She’s not thumping her chest in council or making big waves politically; no, she’s driving an electric car.

She spotted the little gas saver at the Oak Bay Car Show and spoke to the dealer about taking a test drive. Instead, she got herself a temporary loan of the Global Electric Motorcar (GEM) from ForeverGreen Electric Cars in Parksville. The low speed vehicle has seating for four, hits a top speed of 40 kilometres an hour and goes as far as 48 kilometres on a charge.

“It’s a little putter,” said Ney, describing the vehicle. “It takes me an hour to do a quick errand – everybody is stopping me to ask about it.”

Ney said “people love it,” especially women. “They all say, ‘I want one.’”

What Ney wanted was to get the feel of driving an electric vehicle. She found the small car has advantages as well as disadvantages. “I thought it would help me understand how they work, where the challenges are and what we need to do if we want to (encourage) that kind of car on our roads.”

While the municipality of Oak Bay was the first in the province to allow low speed electric vehicles on its streets  – approving them in 2008 – other municipalities are just getting into the trend.

“It’s a challenge. Oak Bay, Esquimalt and Colwood are the initial three that passed a bylaw,” said ForeverGreen sales manager Mark Beuerman.

The city of Victoria passed a bylaw allowing the low speed electric vehicles on its roads  in May of 2010 and just renewed the bylaw for two years.

“It would be nice if other municipalities or the CRD would get on board,” said Beuerman. “It would make it easier to get from one place to another.”

While Ney is enjoying the gas-free ride, and getting regular ‘thumbs-up’ from other motorists, she has run into some problems with the little car.

“I have been stuck without a plug-in,” she said. Ney, who works at the University of Victoria, was surprised to find there is nowhere to charge the 110-volt vehicle at the university. “I called BCAA and they didn’t know what to do,” she added. She finally found a plug at a nearby church.

“It speaks to the way we should set electric charging stalls up,” she said, noting larger electric vehicles require 220-volts.

Ney said the reaction she’s receiving is indicative of a desire for alternative transportation in the region.

“People waving and honking says a lot to me. People are waiting for something like this.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An aerial view over Oak Bay. (Black Press Media File Photo)
An aerial view over Oak Bay and the Marina. Oak Bay residents pay the highest taxes on Vancouver Island. Don Denton/Black Press
Oak Bay secondary suites study considers units old and new

Secondary suites draft report due in new year

Itty, a Siamese cat, has been missing since a house fire in Victoria’s Fernwood neighbourhood on Friday, Nov. 27. Her owner says she has white fur with blonde and grey markings. (Facebook/ROAM)
Cat goes missing after house fire in Fernwood neighbourhood

‘Itty’ has white fur, blonde and grey markings and blue eyes

Island Health has confirmed the first long term care facility outbreak in Greater Victoria at Veterans Memorial Lodge in Saanich. (Google Maps)
Island Health records first long-term care COVID outbreak in Greater Victoria

Veterans Memorial Lodge in Saanich confirms one positive staff member

Westcoast Impressions plans to organize a COVID-19 friendly version of the event in 2021 at the Mary Winspear Centre after having cancelled the 2020 version against the backdrop of pandemic. The opening night of the 2019 Sidney Street Market featured more than 150 vendors lined along Beacon Avenue. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sidney Street Market plans for 2021 return at Mary Winspear Centre

Tentative plan calls for the event’s return to Beacon Avenue after COVID-19 pandemic

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

A small crash in the water south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon. Two men had to be rescued, but reports indicate there were no serious injuries. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Small plane crash in Comox Valley waters Saturday afternoon

Two rescued from plane that had flipped in water; no serious injuries reported

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

Most Read