Qualicum adds electric car to its fleet

When Town of Qualicum Beach employees need to speed up when driving the latest addition to their fleet, they won’t step on the gas — because there isn’t any.

Mayor Teunis Westbroek and CAO Mark Brown charge up the town’s new electric vehicle.

Mayor Teunis Westbroek and CAO Mark Brown charge up the town’s new electric vehicle.

When Town of Qualicum Beach employees need to speed up when driving the latest addition to their fleet, they won’t step on the gas — because there isn’t any.

The vehicle, unveiled Monday, is an entirely electric vehicle, the first of what chief administrative officer Mark Brown hopes will be an increasing number of gas-free vehicles in the fleet.

The Mitsubishi i-MiEV is being leased by the municipality as part of a pilot project wherein the Town of Qualicum Beach will lease the vehicle for three years to help test it under normal working conditions. The town joins BC Hydro and the City of Vancouver in the pilot program.

“I commend our councillors and town staff for being community leaders for clean air,” said Mayor Teunis Westbroek. “This car will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and help to attain our sustainability goals. By replacing a fossil fuel vehicle with the electric Mitsubishi car, the Town of Qualicum Beach demonstrates that we are at the forefront of implementing electrical vehicle technology in Canada.”

In particular, Westbroek praised Brown, although he found himself somewhat at a loss for words to do so.

“I can’t call him the sparkplug, because the vehicle doesn’t have one,” he joked.

That example, he added, is one he hopes others in Qualicum Beach and elsewhere will follow, once the vehicles are available on the open market.

“We are hoping residents will pick up where staff and council have led us to,” he said.

Brown said the vehicle feels just like an ordinary car, to the point where it’s sometimes easy to forget it’s not.

“It has a top speed of 140 kilometres per hour and a range of 120 kilometres,” he said. “It’s very quiet and the acceleration is great.”

The name, i-MiEV, stands for Mitsubishi Innovative Electrical Vehicle, the company’s first all-electric, highway capable charge-at-home, commuter car with zero tailpipe emissions — it doesn’t even have a tailpipe. The car can be recharged in approximately 13 hours using the town’s newly-installed charging stations.

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