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Race gives electric car’s abilities a charge


A lot of people might not realize it but the race to establish the electric car has already been won, at least in terms of availability. The struggle for the companies offering them is convincing people they can travel long distances in them in all kinds of weather.

Kent Rathwell (sitting) is the CEO and founder of both Sun Country Highways and the E-Amazing Race. John Gordon is with Green Rock E.V.S., the only 100 percent electric vehicle dealer in the province. — Photo by Josh Pennell/The Telegram

That’s the purpose of the E-Mazing Race which was launched from Cape Spear on Monday.

Kent Rathwell is the CEO and founder of both Sun Country Highway and the E-Amazing Race. Sun Country Highways is self described as Canada’s Leader in electric vehicle products and services. They have charging stations across Canada. They electrified the Trans-Canada Highway making it the world’s longest highway with green capabilities. A couple of years ago a Sun Country Highway team drove from coast to coast in the winter to prove the electric car could travel long distances in cold conditions without any tail pipe emissions. It also showed that there are enough charging stations across the country to allow for such widespread travel.

This race is an extension of that.

“The E-Amazing Race is simply something to really empower the message and really get it out there,” Rathwell says.

It’s not really a race, not in the sense of people rushing to be first to cross a finish line anyway. People are given points by visiting the most Sun Country Highway charging stations in a month. Those who arrived for the start of the challenge in St. John’s will receive bonus points. Likewise, people who are at the finish line in Vancouver will also get points. Those points can equate into Sun Country Highway merchandise.

Kathleen Gonsalves and her husband from Portland, Oregon drove up to St. John’s in their electric car for the start of the E-Amazing Race. They read about it online and had inquired about it. She says a trip taken more than 20 years ago to Alaska actually sealed the deal on coming here for it. In 1982 when they were in that state, she wanted to cross the border into Inuvik, N.W.T., which she describes as at the end of the road. Her husband couldn’t be convinced.

“When Kent called and asked us if we wanted to start from St. John’s, which is also sort of the end of the road, (my husband) couldn’t refuse,” she says.

They’ll be taking advantage of the challenge and travelling throughout Atlantic Canada and into Ontario. But it’s not just the scenic opportunities the trip offers that inspired them. It’s the green message that goes along with it.

“My mother was a recycler before recycling was a word. To be environmentally responsible is kind of how I was brought up,” says Gonsalves.

There are about 45 charging stations now in this province, though they’re only about the size of a lunch box so aren’t that obvious unless you have an electric car. There’s an app that lets people know where the Sun Country Highway stations are across the country.

 

josh.pennell@thetelegram.com

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