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Nissan goes the extra mile for Sun Youth

Donation of electric car will help group respond to disasters in city

Cité Nissan general manager Nazih Chemali, left, shows Sun Youth’s Tommy Kulczyk, second from left, and Eric Kinjsley, second right, the donated all-electric Nissan Leaf. Nissan regional GM Claude Brunet looks on.

MONTREAL — “A Leaf brings relief.”

It was a simple phrase uttered by Louise Pan, head of the Nissan Canada Foundation, on Tuesday just moments after she handed the keys of an all-electric 2012 Nissan Leaf to Tommy Kulczyk of Montreal’s Sun Youth Organization.

Pan was referring to the fact that the Leaf will be used by the community group, founded in 1954, to respond to disaster situations across the city.

But the Leaf will also be a relief in other ways, notably the fact that it produces no greenhouse-gas emissions, and will save Sun Youth thousands of dollars a year in fuel costs.

Pan says two of the foundation’s pillars are humanitarian support and the environment. “I saw this as a perfect opportunity to meld the two,” she said of the decision to donate the Leaf, a process that began last fall.

“In doing so, it also sends a message that we believe this car can do anything. In an urban setting, this is perfect. And for a charitable organization to be able to save in any way they can, this is a bonus.”

Kulczyk, director of Sun Youth’s emergency services, said the idea to go with an electric car was spurred by the last vehicle they received from the Nissan Canada Foundation, an Altima Hybrid.

“We realized how much gas we were saving, so it’s an economy to the organization as well. Not only that, but it’s great for the environment,” he said.

The Leafwill act as a secondary car, Kulczyk said, helping Sun Youth respond to nearly 200 disasters — be they fires, floods or other situations — every year.

“This is all to give a better service to our clientele who are victim to a crisis or fire,” he said.

“The worst situation is when you lose everything, and often things you can’t replace. To be there at the right time and to provide the best service” is important.” Kulczyk is not concerned at all about the potential of running out of battery power when the Leaf is needed.

“The fires are in the greater Montreal area, so there is plenty of juice to go to fires, (or) many fires on the same night,” he said. “(Normally) we are called to a fire every 36 hours.”


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