SaskEV volunteers stop in Prince Albert to educate about electric vehicles

(Left to right) Electric vehicle owners Jason Cruickshank, Curtis Bloom, Russ Lepage, Alix Cruickshank and Emma Cruickshank (front) were set up outside of Peavy Mart on Sept. 21, 2019 for National Drive Electric Week. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

Saskatoon-based SaskEV members were at Peavy Mart on Saturday to share their experiences owning electric vehicles.

The advocacy group has between 20 and 30 active members, according to lead organizer Jason Cruickshank.

“We’ve just been advocating for positive policies for electric vehicles in Saskatchewan and helping people find the vehicles that are for sale here and answer questions that they have that owners have the experience to answer,” he said.

SaskEV held events in four other communities for National Drive Electric Week (NDEW): Regina, Saskatoon, North Battleford and Davidson.

Cruickshank said there’s many benefits to owning an electric vehicle.

“One of the benefits is, of course, the environment. They’re a zero emission vehicle and as we try and tackle the climate crisis, we’re trying to reduce those emissions from transportation,” he said.

“They’re also a lot of fun to drive,” he said, explaining that the Chevy Bolt can go from zero to 96 kilometres per hour in six and a half seconds.

He said they’re also fairly cheap, costing nine dollars to fill up and few maintenance expenses with no oil changes and not many moving parts.

Cruickshank said they felt it was important to travel to other communities for NDEW, which has been acknowledged in Canada for the past nine years.

“We really wanted to get out into other communities that maybe they don’t see as many electric vehicles here as they do in Saskatoon,” he said.

“Local dealerships might not stock them. They can maybe order them, but it always helps to gain confidence to be able to see it in person and get a ride in one and hear some answers on winter performance and road trips and how all of that works.”

He said people in the city seem to be interested in learning more and possibly making the switch to driving electric.

“I think a lot of people see this as the future,” he said.

“We had somebody come through who had recently taken a test drive of a Nissan Leaf over at Evergreen Nissan here in town and they kind of wanted to come and learn a bit more about it.”

Since SaskEV began about two years ago, Cruickshank said he’s seen a significant change in the province.

“We’re starting to see that more dealerships have them available, some dealerships are bringing in used vehicles, more dealerships are stocking the new vehicles. Every few months, it’s getting easier to buy an electric vehicle in Saskatchewan,” he said.

Cruickshank said another big change is the federal government’s incentive for zero-emission vehicles.

According to the Government the Canada, transportation is the second highest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country.

As of May 1 of this year, customers who purchase or lease a zero-emission vehicle may be eligible for a $5,000 or $2,5000 incentive.

Cruickshank also said more and more businesses have or are implementing fast charging stations, such as Petro-Canada and Canadian Tire.