Test drive an electric car at a free event in Guelph

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With gasoline prices hitting record highs in recent months, eMERGE Guelph hopes people will be motivated to consider alternatives like electric vehicles.

The organization, which focuses on fighting climate change by helping people reduce their energy use, is hosting an electric vehicle test-drive event on June 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 42 Carden St. .

If you’ve never driven an electric car before, you’ll have fun trying one out, said eMERGE executive director Evan Ferrari.

“The nature of electric motors is that they are instantaneous,” he said, explaining how fast cars can accelerate.

But the hope is not just to hook people into the fun of driving electric vehicles, but also to educate people about their environmental benefits and combat what eMERGE Guelph sees as a disturbing trend.

Nearly 80 per cent of new vehicles registered in Guelph in 2021 were what Ferrari calls “gas guzzlers” — pickups, SUVs and vans.

This is an increase from 66% in 2017, according to an eMERGE press release.

The number of people opting for light trucks over smaller cars “continues to rise at a time when gasoline prices are exploding,” Ferrari said.

These vehicles cause 87% more “climate change pollution” than a new mid-size car, the statement said.

“Guelph has been an environmental leader in waste management and water conservation, but somehow we decided it was okay to burn 87% more gasoline in larger vehicles,” Ferrari said in the statement.

Taking into account maintenance costs and the cost of fuel, electric vehicles are more profitable, in addition to being more environmentally friendly, said Ferrari.

To help people learn everything they need to know about buying an electric vehicle, eMERGE Guelph is also offering EV101 courses at Sunday’s Test Drive event.

“In an hour it dispels a lot of myths,” Ferrari said.

Classes, offered at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., are free, but registration is required. To register, visit emergeguelph.ca/event/electric-car-test-drives/.

Those only interested in testing a vehicle do not need to register in advance, and there will be eMERGE EV Ambassadors – local EV owners – on site who can answer questions.

The event is offered in partnership with Plug’n Drive and Alectra.

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