By Amy Woolvett
The future of fuel-free driving is here.
The town of Shelburne has installed its first electric car charging station located on Dock Street at the intersection of St. Patrick’s Lane and Anne Street.
While there aren’t any electric cars in Shelburne, the hope is with the option now available to charge up for free, motorists may go the green route for their next vehicle purchase.
Another great advantage, said Jerry Locke, facilitator to the project coming to the area, is it will be the stopping point for electric car owners who wish to travel the south shore.
“This will give travellers another reason to get off the highway or even travel this way at all,” said Locke.
The cost of the unit was $3700 but with in kind contributions and a Department of Energy grant, it only cost the town $500.
The town will be offering use of the charging station for free at least for the first year.
It is estimated that a cost of $2 per charge be expected.
Shelburne is one of 12 new stations across Nova Scotia as a part of the first phase of the technology-with charging stations roughly 70 to 100 kilometres from one another.
In 2014, it is planned that another 15 communities will be added to the circuit.
Locke does not expect there to be a huge need for the charging station at first.
“It’s similar to when people went from the horse and buggy to cars,” he said. “Gas stations were few and far between and people were wondering why they would switch over…but look at it now.”
David Stevenson, the president of Colchester Cumberland Wind Field Inc. spearheaded the initiative to have more charging stations available across the province and hand delivered the station last week.
Each charging station is classed as a level 2 (220 volts, as with a stove or dryer connection), capable of loading electricity into a car’s battery at a rate of about 35 km of driving for each hour of charging.
There are no certified mechanics in the county who maintain an electric vehicle.
The Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus Electric and Chevy Volt begin at prices in the $38,000, $33,000 and $42,000 ranges. Two Chevy Volts were sold in the Barrington area.
The Leaf can run 200 km on a full charge and the Focus an estimated 150 km while the Volt can only go 60 km it has a gas powered generator that will charge your batteries when on the go or travelling long distances without the desire to stop and charge.
Other provinces have given incentives or rebates for purchasing these greener vehicles but Nova Scotia has not offered these as yet.
The short travelling distances between charges is why the charging stations are needed to ensure more people choose electric in the future.
The one-hour charge time will allow visitors to visit the town, stop for lunch or do some shopping.
The land where the charging station sits is owned by the Historical Society who gave the okay to use the site for this purpose.
Locke suggested local companies such as delivery services, taxis, would benefit the most from the electric car benefits.