By Mike Pearson, News staff
Jaff Stevenson’s sports car goes from zero to 100-km/h in 3.7 seconds, all without a single drop of gasoline.
Stevenson’s Tesla Roadster was one of the attractions during a green energy open house on Saturday at the Stoney Creek home of Stephen Bieda. The event welcomed members of the Golden Horseshoe Electric Vehicles Association (GHEVA) for a fundraiser in support of the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association.
Stevenson’s fully electric car doesn’t sacrifice speed to deliver the ultimate in driving performance. The Grimsby resident recently competed in a cross-Canada driving competition, dubbed the e-mazing race, and won the prize for visiting the most charging stations. Stevenson’s journey took him from the Niagara Region to Summerside P.E.I. He visited more than 70 charging stations while enjoying the scenery and rich array of freshly caught seafood.
For about the same price as a coffee shop latté, Stephenson can fully charge his roadster’s battery.
“The planning of the route was really fun,” said Stevenson, who traveled at or below the posted speed limits to maximize his car’s range.
“It was a very relaxing drive.”
At $120,000, the roadster’s sticker price is comparable to many high-end gas powered sports cars. Stevenson’s vehicle is one of about 50 models that Tesla produced.
The e-mazing race is organized by Sun Country Highway, a Canadian owned company that distributes electric vehicle charging stations. Bieda is Sun Country Highway’s regional director for Ontario. Bieda also drives an electric car. His Chevrolet Volt can be charged for less than $5 using a 240-volt electrical outlet, which is wired into his home’s electrical panel. Hamilton has several of Sun Country Highway’s public charging stations, including 10 units near Waterdown’s North Wentworth Arena.
Bieda’s home features rooftop solar panels, which generate an estimated 8,000 kilowatt hours per year. That’s roughly enough to power a small home.
Along with solar panels, inverters convert energy from DC to AC power.
The electricity is fed back into the province’s electricity grid, using the MicroFit program. Bieda receives about $350 each month for the electricity he generates, which represents a 15 per cent return on investment. He will own the system outright in less than seven years.
While consumers have been slow to embrace electric vehicles, Bieda takes every opportunity he can to promote the benefits of green transportation.
Bieda said his electric vehicle features solid acceleration and performance. And it costs 90 per cent less to operate than a comparable gasoline model.
Along with fuel savings, Bieda sees environmental and economic benefits. As more electric cars are purchased and produced, jobs are created, greenhouse gas emissions are lowered, and reliance on foreign oil is diminished.
Bieda believes it’s just a matter of time before more consumers start plugging in than fueling up.
“You can buy electric cars for as little as $18,000 after provincial rebates,” said Bieda.
Bieda is the founder and president of GHEVA and enjoys the opportunity to promote green technology with Sun Country Highway.
“Our company is all about social, economic and environmental sustainability,” he said.