Antigonish is now a little more green-friendly, as the first public electric vehicle charging station opens.
The initiative to create the world’s longest and greenest highway along the Trans-Canada Highway is being completed by Sun Country Highway, who stopped at the Claymore Inn charging station in Antigonish Wednesday, Nov. 21.
“We drove from St. John’s, all the way through, took the ferry across with the car, landed in Sydney, and now we’re carrying on to Halifax and we’ll carry on all the way through to the rest of Canada,” Christopher Misch, vice president of Sun Country Highway, said.
The cross-country tour in the snazzy silver Tesla electric car started on the east coast Nov. 17, and Misch said he hoped the tour would wrap up before Christmas in Victoria, B.C.
With stops every 150 to 200 kilometres along the highway, Misch said the electric fueling stations are a winning situation for electric vehicle owners and local businesses.
“You want it to be a convenient way of fueling your car. The bonus to the business owner is that I had to come there to charge my car,” Misch said. “We want them everywhere where the average Canadian goes. Eventually we’re going to start seeing them everywhere.”
While seeing electric vehicles is still a relative rarity in rural Nova Scotia, Misch said the trend of electric vehicle use is growing.
“There’s hundreds across Canada, and certainly some provinces have huge uptake,” Misch said. “Without infrastructure, cars don’t sell. Without great cars, why put infrastructure in? We decided, let’s go out, let’s build the most powerful network available, so that the manufacturers push the envelope.”
Misch said cost savings on fuel, plus the environmental impact of using an electric car, can actually level out the initial higher purchase price of most electric vehicles.
“The majority of chargers are free,” he added, in regards to the network of stations being set up across the country.
“The world is changing, and there are lots of different options out there as far as transportation. We are seeing that shift,” Misch said.
Since electric vehicles require a longer period of time to charge, from an hour to overnight depending on the amount of power remaining and the strength of the charger, many stations are set in tourist locales, near restaurants, or, like in Antigonish, at a hotel.
The station at the Claymore Inn is located at the rear of the hotel, and electricity is being provided free of charge by the hotel.
“We didn’t want to create a disincentive,” Misch said, as to why charging is free. “This is about economic sustainability.”