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EV expo comes to St. Albert Farmers’ Market

Electric cars cheap, fast, fun, says owner
EV SHOWCASE — The City of St. Albert will host Electric Vehicle Day at the St. Albert Farmers’ Market downtown on Sept. 9, 2023. The event will let residents see electric cars up close and talk to their owners. Shown here are a variety of electric cars from a 2019 EV showcase in St. Albert. DAN RIEDLHUBER/St. Albert Gazette

St. Albert Farmers' Market fans will get a hands-on look at the future of transportation this Saturday, as an electric vehicle showcase rolls into the city.

St. Albert is hosting its inaugural Electric Vehicle Day on Sept. 9 in the St. Albert Place parking lot during the farmers market. Organized with the help of the Electric Vehicle Association of Alberta (EVAA) and the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre (MCCAC), the event aims to give guests a chance to explore electric vehicles and ask their owners about how the cars work in Alberta’s climate.

Transportation accounts for about 28 per cent of Canada’s carbon footprint, Statistics Canada reports. Electric vehicles can take a substantial bite out of that footprint through their greater efficiency and potential to run on zero-emission electricity. The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that electric vehicles produce 52 to 57 per cent less heat-trapping pollution over their lifetime compared to conventional ones, mostly because of the type of fuel they use.

Electric vehicles can save drivers money while also reducing emissions of heat-trapping pollution, said city municipal energy specialist Cassie Kupsch. This weekend’s showcase, which could become a regular event, is meant to raise awareness of electric vehicles and the city’s growing network of charging stations.

St. Albert has installed 26 electric vehicle charging stations in the last decade, including eight at Servus Place and six in the St. Albert Place parking lot. lists additional privately owned stations at five other spots in town, including the St. Albert Inn.

EVAA board member Angie Thomas said there will be at least three electric vehicles at Saturday’s event, including two Teslas. While these vehicles will be parked in front of the charge stations in the St. Albert Place parking lot, preventing their use, Thomas said she hopes to keep at least one station open to the public.

Thomas, who owns a 2022 Hyundai IONIQ 5 electric car, said the top two questions she gets about electric vehicles involve their range and winter performance. Winter range for electric vehicles drops by about one per cent per degree below zero (typically 30 per cent), mostly because of cabin heating.

Thomas said she and her family make frequent trips to Canmore from Edmonton in their electric car by making use of charging stations in Calgary and Innisfail. Anyone concerned about their car’s range could get a plug-in hybrid instead (which has a gas engine backup).

“It’s more about managing expectations,” she said.

Thomas said electric cars costs 70-75 per cent less to run than gasoline ones in terms of fuel. A report by Clean Energy Canada found a 2022 gasoline Toyota Corolla hatchback cost 54 per cent more to operate than a 2022 electric Chevy Bolt because of higher fuel and maintenance costs.

Electric cars are also much more fun to drive, Thomas said.

“There’s that instant torque,” she said, plus all the interesting looks your car gets on the highway.

Thomas said the EVAA hosts frequent test-drive events for people who want to try out electric vehicles — the next one is Sept. 20 in Leduc. Drivers can also rent electric cars from companies such as Hertz and Award Evolution.

Kupsch encouraged anyone with questions on electric vehicles to come out to this weekend’s showcase, which will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
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