Red Deer City councillor and business owner Paul Harris has traded in his diesel powered Smart Car for a new electric one.

Red Deer City councillor and business owner Paul Harris has traded in his diesel powered Smart Car for a new electric one.

Councillor gets a charge out of driving his electric car

Coun. Paul Harris is driving off the grid with his electrifying ride. Harris is one of a handful of car owners in Red Deer who recently traded diesel for chargers when his Smart Fortwo Electric Drive arrived just over a week ago.

Coun. Paul Harris is driving off the grid with his electrifying ride.

Harris is one of a handful of car owners in Red Deer who recently traded diesel for chargers when his Smart Fortwo Electric Drive arrived just over a week ago.

The second-term city councillor has been waiting for his 100 per cent electric wheels for two years. He ordered his $27,000 car as soon as it was available in Canada and at a price that he could afford. There were some delays in production so he waited about a year and a half before the wheels arrived from the Mercedes-Benz plant in Hambach, France.

“I believe electric cars are the way of the future,” said Harris. “They reduce greenhouse gas emissions and smog. They are more environmentally friendly all around . . . . It’s cool to be a councillor with an electric car.”

Harris said the main difference with an electric car is the silence and the pickup. Harris said his new wheels can accelerate from zero to 60 km/h in 4.8 seconds, zero to 110 km/h in 11.8 seconds and can reach up to speeds of 125 km/h.

“It’s quiet,” said Harris. “You just turn the key. You don’t know it’s on. It doesn’t start up. It just says ready on the dash. You put it in gear and away it goes.”

Harris said he looked at a few other electric cars but settled on a Smart Car because he is loyal to the brand.

“(The others) looked just like a regular car,” said Harris. “This one is a little more fun.”

The battery holds a charge good for about 140 km, just short of a trip to Edmonton or Calgary. The lithium-ion battery takes 16 hours to charge using a typical 120 V socket and about half that time at a charging station.

“I wouldn’t go to Calgary just yet,” said Harris. “I am running the seat warmers and the heaters. That’s all electric. That would eat up some of the charge. I don’t think I would make it to Calgary.”

Peavey Mart installed electric car chargers at its locations in Red Deer and Blackfalds last summer. Harris will likely only use the charging station in a fix as he plans to charge his car overnight in his garage. He said he expects his power bill to increase slightly but he will pay no more than what he paid for diesel.

Harris, who lives in Grandview, is also installing solar panels on his house roof. He said people could say he is not reducing greenhouse gas emissions because he is now using coal-powered electricity. But he said he buys green power through Bow Valley Power for his businesses and his car.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com

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