'Among the first in Canada' — Greater Sudbury buys 4 Teslas for community paramedic program

Next month, Greater Sudbury residents are going to see more city-run electric vehicles on the road.

Electric vehicles less expensive to run, maintain than gas-powered cars, EV advocate says

Greater Sudbury employees with the Community Paramedic Program will soon be driving Tesla Model 3 vehicles to do their work in the city. (Chuck Burton/Associated Press)

Next month, Greater Sudbury residents are going to see more city-run electric vehicles on the road.

The city is adding four new Tesla Model 3 vehicles to its fleet — and aims to electrify its entire fleet by 2035. The announcement is part of a plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

The cars will be used by the community paramedic program for scheduled appointments with residents in their homes.

Greater Sudbury made the announcement on Earth Day, April 22. In a news release the city said the purchase makes it one of the first municipalities in Canada to add electric vehicles to its paramedic services fleet. Sudbury also has three hybrid ambulances as part of its fleet, with another three to be delivered in the coming months.

For Devin Arthur, president of the Sudbury chapter of the Electric Vehicle Society — a consumer advocacy group that helps promote electric vehicles across Canada — the rollout is good news. 

"It's a good, big news story for Sudbury, especially since, you know, we have all these natural resources that are used in the battery themselves," he told Morning North CBC host Markus Schwabe.

"One of the ways we've been trying to promote EVs in Sudbury, at least, is the connection between jobs in the mining industry, because nickel is one of the biggest components in these batteries. When people purchase an electric vehicle, you're directly helping the local economy. So the more EVs on the road, the more potential that nickel is coming from Sudbury."

Devin Arthur, the founder of the Greater Sudbury Electric Vehicle Association, at a Tesla charging station on Long Lake Road. File photo. (Erik White/CBC )

Arthur says the up-front cost is higher to buy an EV, but without costs like oil changes and gas, the the vehicles are less expensive to run and maintain than a gas-powered car.

On Tesla's website, a Model 3 that has a driving range of about 150 KM before needing another charge, is about $46,000. A higher driving range pops the price up to about $52,000.

Arthur says his group has been advocating for a while for the city to take a leadership role and show the public that EVs are the way to go.

"And one of the ways, obviously, is getting an organization like a municipality to adopt EVs to show people that this can work. And especially up here in northern Ontario with the cold weather."

Arthur predicts more municipal fleet managers will adopt EVs in the future.

"Now it's at the point where it doesn't really make financial sense to purchase more fuel-burning vehicles, because the cost benefit analysis just isn't there," he said.

"The total cost of ownership for an electric vehicle versus the traditional gas-burning [vehicle] is so much cheaper over the long term. Now that there's more models available, you'll see more and more fleets adopting EV as their main source of transportation."

Some Greater Sudbury city employees will soon get the chance to drive a new Tesla 3 as the city transitions to an electric fleet. We reached Devin Arthur, the president of the Sudbury Chapter of the Electric Vehicle Society for some reaction to the news. 4:57

With files from Markus Schwabe and Jan Lakes


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