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Canada: Electric cars starting to take charge

With the B.C. government’s pledge this week to build 120 electric-car charging stations, plug-in electric vehicles suddenly make more sense.

So The Province checked out the green machines at the Clean Energy Vehicle Showcase at the Vancouver International Auto Show.

Three of the e-cars are “full electric”- charge them and they’ll run on electric power until the battery runs out.

Three others are “plug-in hybrids” – charge and they’ll run on electric power until the battery runs out, then they switch to gasoline power.

Commuters who plan to use their cars simply to work and back can get by on full electrics, while those who want to take extended tours are better off in a plug-in hybrid.

Here’s the e-car lineup – set to grow by leaps and bounds in the coming months and years.

We’ll start with the three ‘full-electric’ vehicles.


The ungainly name is actually quite a cute little e-car, a subcompact with pretty good interior space for such a small car. For $32,998 you get a quirky little vehicle that stands out from the crowd.

“I find the I-MiEV cute,” said one observer. “It has nice styling. It looks like new technology, but not super sleek.”


A little bigger, a little roomier, this compact has a growing fan base. “It’s almost like a regular hatchback,” said one potential buyer.

“One of the most popular electric cars – I don’t know why.”

Large enough for full-sized adults, without the pain at the pumps.


Smart cars looked revolutionary when they first came out, and these microcars shout out their green credentials. Of course, only you and a friend can appreciate the electric power of this tiny two-seater.

Now, for nervous nellies, wanderers and those worried about range anxiety, ‘plug-in hybrids’ – drive it on electric power until it loses a charge, then simply switch to gas power.

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