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Canada: Electric vehicle event displays new technology

Paul Allsop has spent just over $50 on gas since he bought a new car in September—but he’s driven over 9,000 kilometers.

“I’m 70 years old and I’ve never been more excited about a vehicle before,” said Allsop. “I’ve had a lot of cars in my life but this is absolutely the best one.”

With a full battery charge, Allsop’s 2012 Chevrolet Volt, which is an extended range electric car, takes him 70 kilometers before it kicks into gas mode.

Allsop said the only reason he’s had to purchase gas is because he drove to Toronto and back, which is farther than the 70-kilometer range the battery has.

“When I go to get gas, I almost have to take a valium because I hate buying gas with a fervor, and I always have. But it’s definitely increased since I’ve bought this car because I know I don’t need it.”

At home, Allsop uses a 220-volt battery charger, which is also used for stoves and dryers. This gets him a full charge in around four hours. He is also able to plug it in to any household outlet, which is 110-volt, but it takes twice as long to charge.

He said he gets a convenient email sent to him when the battery is fully charged.

“I never thought I’d have a car that was smarter than me, but I do now,” said Allsop with a laugh.

The car was on display at the third annual Electric Vehicle Event held at the Renewable Energy Technology Centre Saturday.

Around 200 poeple attended the event that was hosted by Green Sun Rising, a local solar energy system designer and supplier, and collaborated with University of Windsor researchers who are working on a variety of renewable energy projects.

Although Allsop charges his car through outlets in his home, which costs him about $20 a month in electricity, the car was being charged for free in a solar carport during the event. A few meters above the car were solar panels that were generating electricity from the sun and sending the energy to the car that was plugged in to receive the charge.

“How much closer can you get between clean electricity generation and clean transportation,” said Klaus Nuske, owner of Green Sun Rising. “He will use those clean electrons to drive home after the event.”

A solar bikeport was a new feature at this year’s event and an e-Bike was also on display being charged. Three flexible solar modules on the roof of the bikeport produce enough power to fully charge an e-Bike battery on a sunny day.

Nuske said the sun is his best ally for the products he designs so he was happy when the sunrays were beating down on the event and the forecasted chance of rain held out.
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