Kootenay Carshare board chair Alex Thumm with executive director Colleen Doyle and her son Odan Doyle with one of the carshare’s two new 2020 Hyundai Kona electric vehicles. The co-op is offering trips in the electric vehicles at half price for December. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Kootenay Carshare buys two electric vehicles

One will be stationed in Nelson and the other in Revelstoke

Kootenay Carshare has just purchased two new electric vehicles, one of which will be based in Nelson and the other in Revelstoke. Like all of the co-op’s 24 vehicles, they will jointly owned by the group’s 200 members.

The 2020 Hyundai Konas were on display at the Kootenay Co-op in Nelson on Friday.

Carshare executive director Colleen Doyle said she has test-driven one of them.

“It was amazing, a very smooth ride,” she said. “You are traveling faster than you think, so you have to pay attention to the speedometer.”

The regenerative braking takes some getting used to, she said. That’s a system that uses the heat from braking to supply more energy to the electric motor.

Carshare board chair Alex Thumm says the cars have a range of about 415 kilometres, with lots of options.

“You can make it sportier and get a bit less range,” he said, “or you can go into eco mode that will slow down your acceleration a bit but make your range go as far as possible, so it is a pretty versatile vehicle.

“It has no transmission, so no changing gears. Look under the hood, all there is is windshield washer fluid. All that has to be checked is tire pressure and washer fluid. If there is an issue with the battery it comes up on the screen.”

As with all carshare vehicles, the cost of driving is determined by time spent and distance driven.

Thumm and Doyle said the hourly charge for the electric vehicles will be higher and the kilometre charge lower, making the cost roughly comparable to the carshare’s non-electric vehicles, especially on longer trips.

Doyle said financing these purchases was a challenge, but eventually the Nelson and District Credit Union financed one and Community Futures the other.

The Kootenay Carshare Co-op’s fleet already includes a Tesla in Revelstoke.

The co-op is offering trips in the new Konas at half price for December in Nelson and Revelstoke.

“So this means that someone could sign up under a casual membership for free, and take this out for an hour, and it would cost them $5 for the hour and five cents per kilometre,” Doyle said.

A casual membership has a much lower application fee but higher driving fees than a regular membership.

Thumm said this purchase is “another tool in the toolbox of reducing emissions. It’s a next step for the car co-op to provide environmentally friendly alternatives to the community.”

The carshare has 14 vehicles in Nelson, five in Revelstoke, four in Kaslo, and one in Rossland.

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