Why an electric truck?
Colwood has committed to reducing emissions in every aspect of our organization. Our greatest source of carbon emissions comes from our vehicle fleet. The only available vehicles that currently qualify as carbon neutral in operation are vehicles that are completely electric – no fuel engine at all. These vehicles are not widely available and even fewer are suitable for use in public works operations. Fortunately one of the few suppliers of such vehicles, Canadian Electric Vehicles (www.canev.com), is on Vancouver Island just north of Nanaimo.
Colwood is one of only a few municipalities in Canada that operates an all-electric truck as part of its regular fleet working on public roads.
How does it save money?
The truck, complete with tilt up bed, tool racks, taxes delivery and everything else cost less than $30,000.
Colwood's previous pickup truck was 17 years old and used $3,500 worth of gas in its last year of full use (2007). The electric truck will use between $80 and $100 of electricity per year for the same mileage.
The batteries cost about $1500 for a full replacement, so the annual cost will be approximately $300. It uses regular lead acid RV batteries which should last about 5 to 7 years and are completely recyclable (there is a well established system for recycling these batteries).
With an electric motor mounted right on the differential and a body that is very sturdily built with heavy duty stainless steel, this truck will last at least twice as long as the old gas driven pick up and it will never need oil, oil filters, air filters, spark plugs, new cylinder rings or many of the countless other things that need to be replaced in the life of a gas driven vehicle.
All this considered, we estimate the net saving in operating costs to be between $3,000 and $5,000 per year.
Is the truck truly useful?
The truck is much smaller than a regular pick up which actually is great for maintaining trails or working at the road edge. The tilt up box of course is very useful when transporting wood chips, soil etc. The truck can carry up to 1 ton of material although the speed drops significantly on slopes when carrying heavy loads so is not used for that sort of weight. The complete absence of fumes or noise is also very much appreciated by parks users. The parks crews also love the fact that it gets so many thumbs up or appreciative comments from the public.
The vehicle has a maximum speed of 40 km/hr and a range of 160 km on a single charge. Since there are only 100 km of roads in Colwood the range is never a problem.
Is the truck street legal?
Provincial legislation allows slow moving (up to 40 km/hr top speed) electric vehicles to be driven on public streets providing the streets have a speed limit of 40 km/hr or less. However, the Province recently gave municipalities the power to pass a bylaw allowing the vehicles on roads with speed limits up to 50 km/hr. Colwood, Esquimalt and Oak Bay have all done this so the truck is legal on all streets in Colwood except Veteran’s Memorial Parkway and Highway 14. It cannot legally be driven outside of the municipality except on roads with a speed limit of 40 km/hr or less until the neighbouring municipalities adopt similar bylaws.