Posted by Michael Connolly on August 21, 2012 in Sustainable Living
The Research that Led Me to “Charge and Go”
I love Europe. Each time I grab my backpack and trek through the beautiful cities and countrysides of the European Union, I am often amazed by the people I meet, the cultures I experience and the sites that draw me in.
Most recently, I spent a month in The Netherlands where the majority of my stay was with local friends in Amsterdam. Each day, armed with an open mind and my camera, I’d explore a new direction to discover something interesting (and old.)
One particular day I kept noticing a pattern of available parking stalls, boldly standing out amongst the clutter of people, boats, bikes and cars. Located in close proximity to each parking space, raised about four feet from the ground was this object. I didn’t pay much attention to it until I noticed two smart cars parked back to back with electrical plugs running from their engines to it.
As it turns out, these parking spaces had been reserved specifically for charging electrical cars; the city of Amsterdam has allocated parking spaces scattered throughout the city, just for this purpose. It got me thinking, I was in a city that is hundreds of years older than Vancouver with NO buildable land, yet they are on the forefront of innovation and forward thinking.
Before I started ranting and raving, I figured I better do some homework. It turns out, the City of Vancouver launched an $800,000 “Charge and Go Vancouver electric vehicle” infrastructure trial that will see a minimum of 67 chargers for use at home, work and ‘on-the-go’ by the end of 2013. This trial doesn’t stop there:
- In collaboration between BCIT, the Rocky Mountain Institute and the City of Vancouver, a ‘menu of actions’ has been developed which will help guide the city’s efforts in removing barriers to wide-scale use of electric vehicles.
- Supporting electric vehicle car share opportunities.
- Requiring all new single-family homes and off-street bicycle storage rooms to have dedicated electric plug-in outlets; requiring charging infrastructure for 20% of all parking stalls in new condo buildings;
- Encouraging all major automakers to bring their new electric vehicles to Vancouver as soon as possible.
Projects like this take more than public interest and city wide trails, it takes leaders willing to implement changes without being mandated. In a city continually growing our builder’s have an opportunity to be those leaders in sustainability and can help break the barriers specific to the electric car (and many other initiatives) by taking the necessary steps willingly.