Electric vehicles make their mark in the oil province

Electric feel: Lane Robson charging his electric vehicle, at his home in Calgary on September 22, 2022. Robson receives his energy to charge his Tesla by solar panels installed on his house. (Photo by Jayden Gagnon/The Press).

Despite Alberta being a province famous for its oil production and jacked-up trucks, it is undeniable how electric vehicles are progressively showing up on the province’s roads.

The electric car innovation has arrived in Alberta. And with change comes opportunity for some and resentment for others.

“I think every Tesla owner understands that there’s a group of people that don’t like Tesla,” Dr. Lane Robson explained.

Robson was one of the first Calgary residents to purchase Tesla’s Model Y fully electric mid-size SUV in 2020. Robson’s interest in electric vehicles peaked when Tesla, the world’s leading electric car manufacturer, was first introduced.

Apart from being the smartest, fastest, quietest, and most high-valued vehicle he has owned, it’s also the most controversial.

In the beginning, Robson remembers hearing of people blocking charging stations and keying Tesla vehicles, causing him to become careful about where he parked his car.

“You could feel that it was not always, `Oh, wow it is a Tesla,’” he said. “You could feel the animosity and the crankiness, you could feel it.”

Yet, with more electric vehicles appearing in Alberta, the negative vibe is changing. Robson expects the arrival of the new Ford F-150 lightning electric truck to make even more of a difference in Alberta.

Dray Souchotte says affordability is holding him back from owning an electric vehicle. Souchotte is a geological engineering student who drives a Dodge Ram 1500, though he would rather drive an electric vehicle and sees himself owning an electric vehicle in the future.

Alongside Ford, vehicle manufacturer such as Kia and Hyundai have introduced new electric vehicles to give drivers a more affordable opinion.

“No emissions,” Souchotte says. “You do not have to pay for gas. It is kind of a long-time investment.”

I think every Tesla owner understands that there’s a group of people that don’t like Tesla. – Dr. Lane Robson

Souchotte said the minimal infrastructure of charging stations would be a concern, although according to ATCO energy, there has been a massive increase of charging stations in Alberta over the past few years.

The growth of electric vehicles in Alberta over the past five years has more than doubled each year. According to MOVES Vehicle Research file, Alberta electric car registrations in 2021 went up 836 per cent since 2017. Gas vehicles increased by just four per cent during that same time period.

The wave of electric vehicles and infrastructure in Alberta is developing quickly, and electric owners admit they can never see themselves going back to a gas vehicle after going electric.

About Jayden Gagnon 3 Articles
As a news reporting and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Jayden Gagnon is working as a writer for The Press in 2022-23.