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Electric cars okayed for use

Stan Elliot has convinced city council to allow electric vehicles to play the streets of Campell River. - Kristen Douglas/The Mirror
Stan Elliot has convinced city council to allow electric vehicles to play the streets of Campell River.
— image credit: Kristen Douglas/The Mirror

Council officially gave the green light to electric vehicles last week, but the timing couldn’t be worse for the man who requested the bylaw seven months ago.

Stan Elliott, owner of Campbell River Electric Wheels, appealed to the city last September to allow the low-speed electric vehicles on Campbell River streets after his dealership acquired a 2011 four-door, four-seater Chrysler Group model.

At the time, council needed more information from city staff before proceeding. However, after considering a staff report earlier this month, council adopted a Neighbourhood Zero Emission Vehicles bylaw last week.

“I’m pretty happy it’s happening, it’s been a long time coming,” Elliott said on Monday. “It’s a big step forward.”

But it’s unfortunate it didn’t happen sooner.

Elliott, who operates his business at 1841 Island Highway in Campbellton, relinquished his dealership status last week in order to re-locate to the Campbell River Common, where the zoning does not allow for a dealership.

Instead, Campbell River Electric Wheels will become an agent for Forever Green Electric Cars, based out of Parksville. Elliott said he is able to display vehicles in his store, but cannot sell them directly, only pass on referrals to Forever Green.

“It’s bad timing but it doesn’t matter because we can still display the cars in the mall, we would act as a go-between,” said Elliott, who has been promoting the advantages of the electric vehicle for some time.

“The benefits to the public are enormous,” he said. “It only costs $.02 per mile (1.61 kilometres) to operate. ”

Not only are the vehicles cost-effective, but Elliott said they’re emission free, because instead of guzzling gas, the vehicles are battery-operated and can be left to charge overnight.

Elliott said a six or seven hour charge is good for 60 kilometres, depending on the number of hills the car climbs and the outside temperature.

The downside to the vehicles is they don’t come with standard safety features such as airbags, ABS, or shock absorbent body panels – some don’t even come with doors.

For that reason, the cars are not allowed to travel more than 40 kilometres per hour and must stay on roads with speed limits of no more than 50 kilometres per hour.

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