March 29th, 2020

Electric vehicles showcased at MHC Cultural Centre

By JEREMY APPEL on August 31, 2019.

Greg Petti plugs in his Tesla for a charge at Medicine Hat College.--NEWS PHOTO JEREMY APPEL

Community Futures hosted an information session Friday at Medicine Hat College’s Cultural Centre on the benefits of electric vehicles.

Greg Petti, an electric vehicle owner, drove down from his home in Calgary where he works as a software engineer to preach the electric gospel to about 50 attendees.

He says the roughly 300-km drive on the Trans-Canada Highway, which he described as “very peaceful,” required just 70 per cent of his Tesla’s battery.

“Although I’m a guy who used to like the sound of an exhaust pipe in my day, there’s something very therapeutic about when you speed up, you just hear the wind getting faster and a slight hum from the electric motor,” said Petti.

The MHC grid has level 2 and 3 chargers, the latter of which offers a quick charge for those who don’t have much time to spare.

“Fast chargers are very much for highway driving, because usually that’s the time when you don’t really want to stop for long, so maybe you stop for a meal or coffee, but ideally you want close to a full battery so you can do another three hours or so of driving,” Petti explained.

Level 1 and 2 charges, by contrast, are more geared towards “when your car is going to be inactive for chunks of time.” These are less expensive and are more intended toward homes, malls and other places where people come and go.

Petti bought his first electric car in 2014. He wasn’t initially looking specifically for an electric vehicle – in fact, he hadn’t even heard of Tesla at the time – but it made economic, environmental and logistical sense.

“It took me a while to get my head around it, but all the numbers added up, all the information I could find out about it – including winter driving and charging – so I made the decision and I’ve never looked back,” he said.

Jen Grebeldinger, a spokesperson for the Community Energy Association based out of Fernie, B.C., also spoke at the event.

She touted regenerative breaking, which allows drivers to stop without using their breaks, as a feature that saves on energy and maintenance costs while ensuring a smooth ride.

“The motor essentially goes backwards, stops the car and while it’s doing that it puts energy back into the battery,” explained Grebeldinger.

Petti’s particular vehicle costs $140,000 – undoubtedly in the high range for a vehicle – but he says there are savings that make up for the cost.

“You do save a lot of money on fuel and there’s virtually no maintenance to them,” Petti said.

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