Sunday, June 9, 2013

Electric Vehicle Event most successful show yet

By Rebecca Wright ,
Michael Schneider bought a new car six months ago and he’s driven 12,000 kilometres in it, but he’s only spent about $200 on gas.
So Schneider was showing off his extended range electric car, a 2012 Chevrolet Volt, at this year’s Electric Vehicle Event at the Renewable Energy Technology Center on Saturday.
“It’s very economical because I drive on electricity mode for about 90 per cent of the time,” said Schneider, adding when the battery is depleted – after about 80 kilometres of driving – the vehicle kicks into gas mode through the backup engine.
“When I look at the extra price that I paid for the vehicle up front, it’s really nothing. I mean I almost made that up already,” said Schneider, who does a lot of driving around the city and county for work. “And when I look at it in the long run, really, the car will pay me versus I’m paying the car. It’s a good financial investment.”
The event was hosted by Green Sun Rising along with the University of Windsor. Klaus Dohring, president of Green Sun Rising, said the event is meant for the public to learn more about electric vehicle technologies and about the importance and increasing need for zero-emission clean driving.
Schneider was one of several local drivers who brought their cars to show to attendees and answer questions about what it’s like owning and driving an electric vehicle.
“You aren’t giving up any conveniences of a normal vehicle,” Schneider told a group who had stopped to check out his car. “You have a quick acceleration on it because the electric motor has a lot of torque, and so if you wanted to, you could actually be a Camaro on takeoff.”
Schneider said to fully charge his car at home costs about a dollar in electricity. But he said the sun pays for all his electricity bills – and more. He has a solar system on his home that he uses to charge his car and provide electricity for his home.
“What I generate on my home (in solar energy) I don’t use up in my home electricity and I don’t use up with my car, so I’m actually generating more electricity overall in the year than I’m actually using. So it’s actually a net positive,” said Schneider. He said although he has several televisions, an air conditioner, an electric dryer – and then the added need for electricity to charge his car – his solar system produces more electricity than he’s using.
“It gives me a good conscience because I’m not the problem anymore, I’m actually the solution to the problem,” said Schneider. “I’m not adding into all this pollution and global warming, I’m doing something about it.”
Klaus said this was the most successful event since it began four years ago, with nine electric vehicles on display – tripling the three that were featured last year.
Attendees got a first glimpse at the 2013 Fiat 500e, Chrysler’s first all-electric vehicle. It’s currently only being sold in California.
Eric Mayne, media relations manager for Chrysler Group LLC, said the car will be a perfect fit for local drivers once it launches in Canada.
“If you are a fan of local culture, this is Erie Street meets Motown because you’ve got the Italian car styling in addition to all the electronics, the battery, the battery system and all the controls that manage the propulsion are all engineered in Detroit,” Mayne said.
The Fiat 500e, an electric vehicle not yet available in Canada, is pictured at the Electric Vehicle Event at the Renewable Energy Technology Centre, Saturday, June 8, 2013. (DAX MELMER/The Windsor Star)
The Fiat 500e, an electric vehicle not yet available in Canada, is pictured at the Electric Vehicle Event at the Renewable Energy Technology Centre, Saturday, June 8, 2013. (DAX MELMER/The Windsor Star)
he charging device for the Fiat 500e, an electric vehicle not yet available in Canada, is pictured at the Electric Vehicle Event at the Renewable Energy Technology Centre, Saturday, June 8, 2013. (DAX MELMER/The Windsor Star)