By: Olivia Morris
Ever wonder what it feels like to be behind the wheel of a rechargeable car?
Humber’s Office of Sustainability gave students the opportunity to test drive an electric vehicle (EV) on Thursday.
Humber College joined forces with Plug’n Drive, a non-profit organization committed to bettering the environment, to increase public awareness about electric cars.
The Electric Vehicle Test Drive event took place in the LRC parking lot at the North Campus from noon to 3 p.m. The event was free for all students interested in learning more about the benefits of owning an EV.
Students got to choose from three electric vehicles to test drive – the BMW i3, Volkswagen e-Golf and the Chevrolet Bolt.
“I drove the BMW i3 and everything was computerized,” said Luca Leone, second-year Computer Network Support Technician at Humber College.
“The drive was smooth and different. I’d actually consider purchasing an electric car, it would save me a ton of money on gas and it wouldn’t affect the environment as much as gas powered cars do,” he said.
Electric cars are powered by an electric motor and battery pack. Motorists can charge their battery pack by plugging their vehicles into public charging stations.
Other features of the vehicles include one-pedal driving, electronic precision shifting between gears and rear vision cameras to help prevent collisions.
As the demand for electric vehicles continues to grow, so will the need for charging stations. Two charging stations were installed at the Humber Lakeshore campus in November 2016.
“It’s part of our sustainable transportation plan to encourage alternative modes of transportation that create greenhouse gas emissions,” said Roma Malik, Acting Sustainability Manager at Humber’s Office of Sustainability.
“We’re just trying to raise awareness that there are alternatives to the typical fossil fuel consuming personal vehicle out there,” she said.
The installation of electric vehicle charging stations adds to the list of sustainable methods at Humber, with Dropbike and the carpool program already promoted on campus.
“The new parking garage being installed in April of next year will have six electric vehicle charging stations,” said Malik. “Things are changing and we know that students want more methods to get to campus in a more sustainable and affordable way, so we’re trying to educate that.”
Ontario offers provincial incentive programs to purchasers thinking about making the switch to electric vehicles. Volkswagen Canada is one of the many car manufacturers who run incentive programs to assist in the purchase or lease of battery electric vehicles.
“The incentives are a respectable $5,000, $8,000 and $14,000 with Ontario being the one that offers $14,000,” said Thomas Tetzlaff, Public Relations Manager at Volkswagen Canada.
“Consumers that are considering an electric vehicle should be aware that there is an awful lot of provincial incentive money to get into the business and it’s not just for the cars themselves,” he said.
Tetzlaff added that those in the automobile industry, like Volkswagen Canada, all agree that the future of transportation is electric.
“In just three years’ time we plan on launching a whole range of cars to develop off a specific electric platform,” said Tetzlaff.
“We at Volkswagen have put a lot of eggs in this basket. By 2025, we’re looking at numbers in excess of a million units per year, so we’re taking this very seriously.”