Margaret Holm is a member of First Things First Okanagan, a community group promoting climate change awareness and solutions for a better future. Photo submitted

Column: Why your next vehicle might be electric

First Things First Okanagan column: Meeting the climate challenge

Don’t you hate the way the price of gas goes up in the summer?

The price of gas won’t matter if your next vehicle is electric. If you’ve been curious about the pros and cons of owning an electric vehicle, Burrowing Owl Winery in Oliver is hosting a solar power and electric vehicle event on April 6. Local EV vehicle dealers and private owners will have a variety of models on show.

Winery owner Jim Wyse is an early adopter of both EVs for his personal use and solar power installations for the winery. His goal is for the winery to be a net zero operation, getting all of its electricity from solar power. Wyse will be giving a talk on the solar installations at the winery at this free event.

Sally Kilburg of Summerland, who is a new Tesla owner, will be sharing her experience with her Tesla Model 3.

“I’ve been surprised by how economical it is to operate. Many charging stations are free and supercharger stations in Hope and Kelowna, cost only $15 for a full charge,” she said.

Kilburg, like others who purchase EVs in B.C., are eligible for up to $6,000 in rebates from the provincial government. While on holiday, cell phone apps show Kilburg where charging stations are located and hotel booking sites now show accommodations offering EV charging.

Chris Allen of Penticton is another person that has adopted electric with all his cars and bikes.

“I can’t believe how little it’s taken to get used to our electric vehicles. They are so simple and so nice. That’s all my daughter wants to drive since there’s no fuel cost,” he said.

The average Canadian driver will save $2,000 to $3,000 on fuel and spend about $400 on electricity. Electric motors have only one moving part and do not need oil or exhaust systems, saving hundreds of dollars a year in maintenance.

Emissions from personal vehicles are estimated to be responsible for 36 per cent of greenhouse emissions produced in the South Okanagan. Commercial and recreational vehicles contribute another 32 per cent. That’s almost 70 per cent of all fossil fuel emissions coming from vehicles. British Columbia and Canada have pledged to lower emissions significantly by 2030 and electric vehicles are a big part of the plan.

Electric bicycles are increasingly popular as are all-terrain vehicles and boats. Examples of these recreational vehicles will be on display at the April 6 event with owners and dealers providing information.

Okanagan solar panel installers will be on hand to discuss advances in photovoltaic technology and the costs of installation. Carol Suhan from Fortis will discuss home energy rebates and renovations to reduce energy use in residential buildings.

Home energy savings, electric vehicles and solar power displays and speakers will be at Burrowing Owl Vineyards from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 6. Event details can be found at

Margaret Holm is a member of First Things First Okanagan, a community group promoting climate change awareness and solutions for a better future.

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