In Canada, the City of Sudbury, Ontario, just purchased a small fleet of Tesla Model 3 vehicles in honor of the 51st Earth Day holiday. The four fully electric vehicles will be used by community paramedics in the latest step of the city’s efforts to meet its goal of a zero-emission city fleet by 2035. It should be noted that Sudbury has been long associated with mining and very cold winters. This is important because one of the most common myths about electric vehicles is that they don’t work in cold weather climates or that they don’t work that well in cold weather climates.
— CGS Paramedics (@CGSParamedics) April 23, 2021
In a media release, the city noted that this purchase “makes Greater Sudbury one of the first municipalities in Canada to add electric vehicles to its Paramedic Services fleet in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
Devin Arthur, chapter president of the EV Society in Sudbury, spoke with Electric Autonomy Canada and shared his thoughts. “I did a lot of Google searching and, as far as I know, this is, at least, the first in Canada for an [electric] EMS vehicle,” he said. “I got nothing but excitement from the city. The overall benefits of an electric vehicle is something they are very excited about. Sudbury is a world-renowned city for its re-greening effort and I think we’ve being trying to envision how Sudbury can build on that. I’m really excited, obviously.”
He also confirmed that the vehicles were Tesla Model 3 EVs. Sudbury already has three hybrid ambulances and another three that will be arriving later this year. The city also has 20 hybrid light-duty vehicles in its fleet. Some of those have been in operation for a decade. This includes a hybrid SUV for the city’s emergency medical service team.
“For fleet managers now there is no comparison anymore between electric and fuel. Electric [vehicles] are significantly cheaper and [fleet managers] have been looking at ways they can fit this into their budgets,” Arthur explained to Electric Autonomy Canada. “We’ve been looking at ways to spur adoption and one of the ways that we had suggested early on was to have the municipality take on a leadership role to show people that EVs are relevant and that they can be used in the north.”
Arthur also called the city’s goal of electrifying 100% of its personal vehicle fleet by 2035 “pretty ambitious.” The article noted that the city’s success in transitioning its fleet is a nod to its declaration of a climate emergency in 2019. This was followed by the passing of its Community Energy and Emissions Plan (CEEP) by the city council in September 2020. The plan has 18 climate goals that include emission reduction. It plans to tackle pollution to make the Greater Sudbury a net-zero community by 2050.
Greater Sudbury’s Mayor Brian Bigger also gave a statement in the press release. “Earth Day is an annual reminder of the importance of taking action to celebrate and protect our fragile earth — not just on April 22, but every day,” said Mayor Bigger. “Big or small, every action we take that can help reduce energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and our ecological footprint make a difference. So although we can’t celebrate with friends and neighbors as we normally would, we can all still take our own steps toward making positive change for a brighter future and a net-zero Greater Sudbury.”
Leading By Example
City of Sudbury, Ontario Purchases Tesla Model 3 Fleet https://t.co/CwXQHtkoel
— TeslaNorth.com (@RealTeslaNorth) April 23, 2021
The article pointed out that one of the key ways to demonstrate EV viability is for city officials to lead. This means piloting the technology themselves. Greater Sudbury is showing that EVs are viable in the far north, and if they work way up there in the cold, then they can work in normal climates as well — debunking a very common EV myth.
“Having an authoritative body like a municipality going out and purchasing these vehicles and saying, ‘Hey, look these work and we are actually saving money,’ will give people the confidence they need to go out and purchase EVs for themselves,” Arthur pointed out. “Also, the people that are driving these [four Teslas] for themselves will go back and say, ‘Hey, these are awesome. Why shouldn’t we own one, personally?’”
This leads to the most important element that could propel EV adoption in a critical mining town such as Sudbury. Every EV in that city is running on a battery made from the resources that the community mined. And it’s more money in the city’s pocket, Arthur explained. “I’ve always been saying that when you go out and purchase an EV, you are reinvesting into our local economy, which will help our city in the short and long term.”
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