Electric car plan stalls in Olds

The Town of Olds has put the brakes on buying an electric car for bylaw enforcement due to costs and insufficient data.

The Town of Olds has put the brakes on buying an electric car for bylaw enforcement due to costs and insufficient data.

Civic leaders have turned down a pilot project that would have seen the town spend $50,000 towards a battery-powered vehicle. They made the decision during a recent public committee meeting.

Chief administrative officer Norm McInnis said although this pilot project was rejected, the town wants to still look into electric vehicles

“We’ll be bringing back information on what is the sustainability of an electric vehicle versus a conventional vehicle,” he said.

Administration will prepare a report, which McInnis anticipates will come to a regular council meeting in the fall.

Mayor Judy Dahl said the town is eager to embrace environmental sustainability, but realized this pilot project was too expensive now and there were too many questions on its potential benefits.

Rapid Electric Vehicles (REV) of Vancouver approached the town with using its REV PACK inside a new Ford Escape.

The plug-in, conversion kit once installed converts light-duty Ford trucks into battery-powered vehicles.

Council was told the project in Alberta would gauge how well these electric vehicles would fare in -40C.

The vehicles can only run up to 200 km before needing juice again.

“The best use for the vehicle, our administration thought, was to have it for municipal enforcement in town,” said Dahl.

Dahl called the project “exciting” for the town, since it was one of only two communities in the province being considered. Medicine Hat was the other.

“We have the ability to get a lot of marketing and press across Canada,” said Dahl. “That was one of the big sells.”

But she said the town needed more information on carbon footprint impact.

Cost was also a concern. The vehicle was priced at $100,000.

McInnis said half of the funding would have come through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Green Municipal Fund. The town would pay the remaining $50,000.

“Fifty thousand dollars is a lot of money to spend on a vehicle, especially when you don’t have it allocated in your budget,” added Dahl.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

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