Recharging a vehicle at a charging station.
A growing number of Manitobans are buying electric cars. Here's why.
In 2013, Tyson Beasley decided he was done spending money on gas.
So the casino manager from southern Manitoba drove to Bismarck, North Dakota, bought a Chevrolet Volt electric sedan and ditched his fuel-hungry pickup.
The decision has paid huge financial dividends. Beasley, who does a daily roundtrip commute of 100 kilometres to Winnipeg, estimates he's saved $30,000 in fuel costs over the past seven years.
"It's incredible. Charging the car is literally $1 a day," he says, noting that he also has solar panels installed on his house. "Once you get the taste of an electric vehicle, that's all you want."
Beasley is among a growing number of Manitobans who have embraced electrified transportation. Last year, drivers registered 149 new electric cars in the province, seven times the tally from 2017, according to research firm IHS Markit.
Those numbers are still tiny: More than 55,000 new gas-powered vehicles were registered in Manitoba in 2019. But converts think Manitoba is nearing an electric car tipping point. They believe falling prices, technological advancements and an expanding network of charging stations have, finally, made it possible for the average person to quit the internal combustion engine.
"New things always scare us—especially something like a car, which is the second largest investment a person may make in their lifetime," says Robert Elms, head of the Manitoba Electric Vehicle Association (MEVA). "But we're at the point now where electric cars make sense economically."
While many consider electric cars the way of the future, the technology behind them is almost 200 years old. The first crude electric car was built in 1832; by the turn of the 20th century, they comprised one-third of vehicles on American roads, according to the United States Department of Energy. But the advent of cheap, mass-produced gas cars, like Ford's Model T, largely spelled the end of those "first generation" electrics.