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Let’s do The Electric Slide into the Future

By Coun. Michael Wolfe

Published 10:53 PDT, Tue June 18, 2019

It is time to electrify our way of life. That is, we need to phase out fossil fuel based, noisy, and costly forms of transportation and equipment.

It is time to electrify our way of life. That is, we need to phase out fossil fuel based, noisy, and costly forms of transportation and equipment. 

There is a lot of talk about pipelines, plastic, and pollution these days and the City of Richmond has its share of responsibilities to assist our region and residents with the transition to a green future. 

Just last month I had the option to buy my first new vehicle, one that will be chauffeuring my soon-to-be son or daughter. After considering what the world will look like when my child is born amidst a climate emergency, along with ever-increasing gas prices, we went with a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). With just over 500km of driving in the fully electric mode, I’ve yet to see the gas gauge move off full. 

Likewise, before sitting down to write this article, I finished mulching the grass and trimming along the ditch in front of my Hamilton home, with none other than my new battery-powered lawnmower and trimmer set. This technology has arrived, allowing for use of BC’s clean hydroelectricity. I hope to have a solar-powered home that I can report on in a future article. 

The City of Richmond has a similar set of goals, but needs the larger scale technology to support the commercial application. We need electric trucks, tractors, and buses. We need large battery-powered landscaping equipment to keep our streets and parks serviced for all ages and accessibility levels. 

I am happy to report some of the highlights from the City’s leading work to electrify its operations: 

• The Green Fleet Action Plan has led to purchases of fully electric, hybrid as well as PHEV vehicles. 

• We have and will be installing ever-more charging stations for public use as well as for the City’s growing electric vehicle fleet.

• 42 trickle chargers have been installed at the City’s operations yard for auxiliary power in service vehicles to avoid idling and to run needed auxiliary equipment.

• Currently we are even piloting a solar panel to power auxiliary batteries, which reduces the need to idle when powering tools and lighting. 

• Planning work is underway to install a solar photovoltaic array on top of the new Fire Hall No. 1 that will include battery storage.

• The Brighouse Library and Cultural Centre will be undergoing a major energy system retrofit to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 90 per cent though the electrification of the heating and cooling system.

Beyond receiving awards for our efforts, the City of Richmond has led North America with enacting a policy that will require 100 per cent of new residential parking spaces to be energized with power outlets supporting Level 2 electrical vehicle charging.

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