Putting the EV in ‘environment’: Nova Scotians turning to electric vehicles for low-carbon transportation options


If Zevvy the Electric Vehicle ever had a theme song, Johnny Cash’s I’ve Been Everywhere might be a fitting ditty. The 2019 Chevy Bolt was in every community in the province, allowing Nova Scotians to feel the thrill and convenience of electric driving.

“From Yarmouth to Sydney to Amherst, Zevvy has received a lot of great comments,” said Sarah Balloch, Clean Foundation manager, Clean Transportation. “People are amazed at how quiet and spacious it is and how much power it actually has.”

Zevvy’s traveling exhibit is part of Next Ride, a low-carbon transportation initiative funded by the Province of Nova Scotia and operated by the Clean Foundation.

“Anyone who is 21 years old and has a valid driver’s license can take a test drive,” says Balloch. “We also conduct e-bike test rides and offer a range of educational programs.”

Zevvy helps dispel some of the misconceptions about electric vehicles (EVs) – that they can’t compete with other vehicles, that they travel long distances, or that they’re too expensive.

Nova Scotia drivers can receive EV cost assistance through the Electrify Nova Scotia Rebate Program. Launched on February 24, 2021, Electrify offers discounts for the purchase or lease of qualifying BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles), PHEVs (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles) and E-Bikes. All rebates are given at the time of purchase, and to date, Electrify has given more than $3 million in rebates.

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Provincial rebates range from $500 for qualifying e-bikes to $3,000 for new BEVs. Combined with federal rebates, buyers could save anywhere from $4,500 to $8,000 on a new electric vehicle. Used EVs qualify for provincial rebates of up to $2,000.

Zevvy the Chevy Bolt for a test drive in Halifax.  PHOTO CREDIT: Post/Next Ride
Zevvy the Chevy Bolt for a test drive in Halifax. PHOTO CREDIT: Post/Next Ride

A cricket fan, Raje Suhagiya lives near Truro but plays his favorite sport at the Halifax Commons and commutes into town every other weekend in his Tesla Model 3. The discount brought the sticker price within its reach, and the convenience made it an attractive option.

“You don’t have to deal with paperwork or go back and forth to see if you qualify,” he says. “It was very easy to join the program.”

When Amy Lowry and her husband bought an electric car, they learned their Timberlea family was about to grow. Now with a four-year-old daughter and twin babies, her Chevy Bolt EUV has room for three car seats in the back. Space has made the SUV the family vehicle of choice, and the extra capacity is now available in zero-emission mode.

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“The rebate program brought an electric vehicle into our family sooner than we thought,” says Lowry. “The cargo hold has space for a fairly large double stroller.”

The lack of an internal combustion engine gives electric vehicles a smooth ride, and that’s one of the key selling points for North Sydney’s Nancy Orkish, who drives a 2015 Nissan Leaf.

“It feels like I’m in a spaceship,” she says. “It feels really good to know that every time I drive, less carbon is going into the atmosphere.”

Cyclists in Nova Scotia are increasingly seeing the benefits of e-bikes as a mode of transportation. Zachary Goldsmith, who lives on top of a hill in Wolfville, finds the bike ride into town easy, while the ride home can be challenging.

“Sometimes I would drive my car into town when I was short on time, but I really didn’t like using my vehicle for such short trips.”

The solution was an Electra Townie Go bike that offers a combination of efficient transport and movement.

“If I want to train a bit, I can switch off the e-assistance,” he says. “Then I can switch on the e-assistance and drive up the hills. It’s an incentive to spend more time outdoors.”

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Come and chat with our EV Engagement Specialist during one of our test drives!  PHOTO CREDIT: Post/Next Ride
Come and chat with our EV Engagement Specialist during one of our test drives! PHOTO CREDIT: Post/Next Ride

The average new electric vehicle has a range of 250 km, with popular models typically offering more than 380 km, and they can be charged overnight at home by plugging into an outlet.

Nova Scotia’s growing network of electric vehicle charging stations provides security for both short and long-haul travel. Dalhousie professor Alan Surovell’s Kia EV 6 takes him three days a week on the 90 km commute from Stonehurst and has brought him to the United States via the Yarmouth Ferry.

“I loaded up in Liverpool and that just got me to Yarmouth,” he recalls. “It’s not difficult to plan your charging stations in advance.”

Surovell’s commitment to reducing his carbon footprint extends to his home, where a wood stove, heat pumps and solar panels eliminate the need for fossil fuels. He says he cannot recommend his EV highly enough.

“In terms of comfort, safety and reliability, I would rather be behind the wheel of an electric vehicle than a gas-powered vehicle,” he says. “I am very happy with the whole experience.”

For more information on the Electrify Nova Scotia rebate program, visit http://electrifyns.ca/. To book a test ride with Next Ride visit: https://nextridens.com/





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