Manitoba Electric Vehicle Association MEVAFest

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A wet Winnipeg day, September 20th, did not sour fans from going to the fourth annual Manitoba Electric Vehicle Association (MEVAFest) at Assiniboine Park.

Image Credit:  Chevy Volt at MEVAFest Adam Johnston

The event, with other National Drive Electric Week events, celebrated the power and promise of electric vehicles across North America.

Around 50 to 100 people were at the soggy, yet spirited, event, asking questions and taking in test drives of various vehicles.

Image Credit: Nissan Leaf at MEVAFest by Adam Johnston

I had asked both a car enthusiast and a car dealer on their take about what makes electric vehicles good investments.

Candas Kristoff, a Chevy Volt driver, said the Volt’s mix of 50/50 gas and electric has many benefits. Kristoff said in electric mode he can get a maximum of 77 km, while it drops to 30 km during the winter time. There are many months where Kristoff has not had to use gas, thanks to the Volt. He has used 200 litres of gas while driving 10,000 km (or 2.7L out of 100 km).

Meanwhile, Keith Juskow, Sales Manager at Mid-Town Ford, pointed to the Ford Fusion Energi and its big gas savings. He said average consumers can save around $1,600 a year or $7,000 over five years. In hybrid mode, a driver can go from 1.5 to 2 months before putting gas in the vehicle, depending on how much the vehicle is driven. Vehicle range within city limits is between 800 km and 1,800 km.

Image Credit:  Nissan Leaf at MEVAFest By Adam Johnston

So, how well are electric vehicles doing in Manitoba?

According to Jaskow, currently there are 4,000 EVs sold within the province.

While there have been some improvements to Manitoba electric vehicle infrastructure, such as a new charger at Winnipeg’s Forks Market this summer, the province lags far behind other jurisdictions. Kristoff and Jaskow agree that improving policy and infrastructure is critical to advancing EVs within Manitoba.

Image Credit: MevaFest 2014 by Adam Johnston

“Some provinces are taking care of promoting electric cars,” said Kristoff, pointing to Quebec’s $8,000 rebate on EVs and $1,000 on home charging stations.

“You wanna change anything, we’ve got to change the infrastructure. That’s the first thing that has to happen,” said Jaskow.

“If you can’t go anywhere to charge your electric vehicle, then you are probably not going to want one,” he said, noting Ford and Tim Horton’s are trying to put a charger at every Tim Horton’s in Canada.

Image Credit: Tesla Model S at MEVAFest by Adam Johnston

But the highlight of the day was me getting a chance to sit in a Tesla Model S (winner of 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year). It was perhaps one of the coolest rides I have ever been in. Quiet and rapid acceleration, along with its way-out-of-this-world features, proves EVs are the real deal.

Overall, MEVA’s showcase educating the public on EVs was a success. Now, if elected officials can advance policy further, Manitoba has potential to become an EV leader in Canada.

We will have more coverage from other National Drive Electric Day events coming in the coming week or more. Keep your eyes peeled, but also feel free to drop us some pictures or videos from National Drive Electric Day events that you attended!

For more information on the cars mentioned above, check out our archives on the:

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Adam Johnston

is expected to complete the Professional Development Certificate in Renewable Energy from the University of Toronto by December 2017. Adam recently completed his Social Media Certificate from Algonquin College Continuing & Online Learning. Adam also graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a three-year B.A. combined major in Economics and Rhetoric, Writing & Communications in 2011. Adam owns a part-time tax preparation business. He also recently started up Salay Consulting and Social Media services, a part-time business which provides cleantech writing, analysis, and social media services. His eventual goal is to be a cleantech policy analyst. You can follow him on Twitter @adamjohnstonwpg or check out his business

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