There’s a lot of buzz right now around electric vehicles (EVs). As more than a quarter of Albertans eye an EV for their next auto purchase, the Alberta Motor Association is producing new resources and roadside supports to help, so members know they’re covered, no matter what type of vehicle they drive.
Getting you the important facts around electric vehicles is why AMA has launched the new EV Life podcast. The show, which began streaming with a special preview episode on Dec. 5, helps connect Albertans with EV experts across the province, country, and worldwide.
The topics listeners can expect are wide ranging and provocative. For example, can Alberta’s electric grid keep up with widespread EV adoption? How did a Calgary mechanic become known as the ‘EV Mad Scientist?’ Will Alberta’s cold weather affect EV range?
In Episode 1, which launches Dec. 12, we’ll talk to the Electric Vehicle Association of Alberta (EVAA) to learn more about the basics of EV ownership.
“A lot of people think (EVs) are some crazy different type of vehicle,” says Andrew Batiuk with EVAA. Batiuk says the only real adjustment is plugging in overnight instead of going to a gas station: “Then you drive it like a regular car and don’t think about it.”
Later in the series, listeners will hear from the Norwegian Auto Federation (NAF) on how EV adoption has fared in that winter country—as well as some of the testing and research the NAF does on electric vehicle range in cold weather, a concern many Albertans share.
“We’ve been working on helping our members transition to electric vehicles for the past three, four years now,” says Anette Berve with the NAF. “And one of the ways that we help them transition to electric vehicles is by helping them understand this new technology.”
The NAF has tested more than 70 vehicles and found that range loss hugely varied in cold weather—some vehicles lost just 4%, but others lost 32% of their range.
“All (EVs) are not created equally,” says Berve. “There are some manufacturers that have really, optimized their battery technology or their heating system to make sure that their consumption stays low.”
The EV Life podcast is hosted by AMA’s Krystal Maharaj and is produced in-house by the Association. New episodes will go live every Monday and can be accessed on AMA’s website or from Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere else you get podcasts.
The latest in EVs at AMA
AMA made the historic move of installing EV charging stations at some centres this winter. Level 2 charging stations—which were officially powered up at AMA’s Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, and Edmonton South centres in November—will give users about 20 to 130 km of charging per hour. More charging stations will be added to other AMA locations in 2023.
The charging station program was partially funded by Natural Resources Canada’s Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program, and the SouthGrow Electric Vehicle Charging Program administered by the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre.
On top of the chargers, two EVs are now being used by the AMA Driving School to train the next generation of drivers.
What it’s like to switch to an EV in Alberta
For on-road support, a SparkCharge pilot program has been launched in Edmonton to provide emergency roadside charging for our members, and AMA’s Roadside Assistance team can tow EVs provincewide—so members will never be stranded.
“No matter the mode of travel—from pedal power to plug-ins, and everything in between—Albertans deserve the same support and peace of mind that comes from membership,” says Michelle Chimko, President and CEO of AMA.