Windsor electric car club going strong, but industry isn't, experts say

Collectively, members of the Windsor-Essex Electric Vehicle Association recently passed the 1-million kilometre mark in electric driving but one auto insider says gas-powered cars still set to dominate.
Michael Schneider takes CBC Windsor's Nick Boisvert on a test drive of an electric car. 1:40

Collectively, members of the Windsor-Essex Electric Vehicle Association recently passed the 1-million kilometre mark in electric driving.

One of the members, Klaus Dohring, claims the association has saved 80,000 litres of gasoline — that's 20,000 bags of milk in Ontario.

Dohring says being green is not the only benefit of driving electric.

"When you consider that an electric vehicle's operating cost is less than 10 per cent of the operating cost of a combustion engine vehicle, if you are a high user, driving an electric vehicle is actually substantially less costly than driving a combustion engine vehicle," he said.

While the local electric vehicle club is proud of its achievement, experts say electric vehicle sales are starting to stagnate.

Jason Stein, editor and publisher of Automotive News, says energy prices are dictating the industry.

"I think that by the end of the decade there will be a nice mix of electric and alternative hybrid vehicles but for now, it looks as business as usual, full-size trucks, medium-size crossovers seem to be the hit as long as fuel prices stay where they are," Stein said. "Any chance we see a spike and obviously the consumer's going to go back to more fuel efficient options."

As of February 2015, Ontario has issued:

  • 4,030 Green licence plates.
  • 2,986 Electric Vehicle Rebates.
  • 646 Electric Vehicle Charging Rebates.

All told, the province offers up to $8,500 in rebates on electric cars.

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