Courtesy // Andrew Roberts

EV Conference Charges up Alberta

By Allison Bench

All eyes on Canada’s electric vehicle (EV) scene were to the west when Edmonton played host to EVVE, the annual conference of Electric Mobility Canada (EMC). Hundreds of industry leaders from the electric mobility and automotive space—including the Alberta Motor Association—gathered to discuss the latest in programs, policies and research supporting Canada’s EV transition.

Edmonton may not seem like the obvious choice as host city for the annual conference. Nationally, the provinces with the most zero-emission vehicles registered are Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia. However, according to EMC’s CEO, Daniel Breton, Alberta is an area being viewed as having huge potential in the EV industry.

“We have more and more members from Alberta who are interested in the EV transition—people who want to create jobs in the province,” Breton said. “These people are working very hard in Alberta. If we don’t come here to support them and show them that we are there with them, we would not be doing our job.”

To kick off the conference, Electric Mobility Canada awarded Francois-Philippe Champagne—Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry—the A1 Cormier Award in recognition of work to advance electrification. Champagne noted that the EV industry is a doorway of possibilities for both Canada and Alberta.

“I think it’s all about jobs, growth and opportunity—something that people in Alberta know well, and in Edmonton,” Champagne said. “We have everything to succeed here. Most of what you see—particularly in these big EV projects that are going to transform the economy—are all about jobs. We have the talent, we have the trades, we have the knowledge to build big things.”

The EVVE conference took place over four days in late November 2023, and featured dozens of special presentations and groups focused on the expanding electric industry in Canada, including a panel discussion that AMA participated in.

Electrification a ‘significant change’ for AMA

Exploring how the province is preparing for the next chapter of mobility was the focus of the Alberta Mobility Leaders panel that AMA participated in.

Jane Flower, AMA’s vice president of corporate purpose, joined ATCO Electric’s president, Melanie Bayley, and Fortis Alberta’s president, Janine Sullivan, in a discussion on how Alberta organizations are adapting for electrification. Flower explained that AMA’s goal through the transition is to make sure that all of its members, regardless of how they choose to be mobile, will continue to receive the support they have come to rely on.

“Electric vehicles are becoming a preferred choice for some of our members, and we need to live up to our commitment to protect them in the same way as we do those members that drive gas-powered vehicles,” Flower said. “All of our members deserve the same level of support and peace of mind.”

AMA has already laid much of the groundwork—which includes 22 EV charger installations, emergency roadside charging and educational EV Life podcast and EV driver education—with more services to come.

“AMA is about to be 100. Many years ago, we helped Albertans through the transition from horse to vehicle,” Flower noted. “Electrification marks another significant change. We’re proud to have the opportunity to invest in work that will support our members to be mobile in whatever way they choose.”