COMMUNITY: A CATALYST FOR THE EV ADOPTION
By Isabelle Havasy
Jérémie Bernardin, co-founder of All EV Canada, a Nova Scotia-based used electric vehicle dealership, was invited to the London EV Show in England last November.
As President of the Atlantic Electric Vehicle Association (EVAAC), he explained how government, as well as, more importantly, community and volunteers, have helped accelerate the transition to electric vehicles. “The organizers wanted to know the key to our success in a region that is far less advanced than Québec and most of Europe in terms of EV adoption.”
EVAAC’s key role
Since EVAAC was founded six years ago, the number of EVs on the road has grown from 120 to nearly 3,000. “We’ve made huge gains, but we still have a long way to go. To make the transition successfully,” says Jérémie, “we need everyone to work together.” Governments are developing programs, utilities are deploying a charging network, yet it’s the volunteer-based Association that links the different initiatives. “It holds events, amplifies the message, communicates and supports the various programs.”
Upon arriving in Nova Scotia in 2017, Jérémie gathered a team and together they established EVAAC to accelerate the transition to sustainable electric transportation in the Maritimes. It helped create a volunteer group and a platform to share news, generating momentum in the sector. “That momentum was reinforced when I met with provincial elected officials to present my vision for Next Ride, an initiative they funded soon after, through the Clean Foundation, and for which I designed and managed the program.”
Next Ride helps Nova Scotians learn about electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles through free test drives. One of the things holding back the adoption of EVs in Eastern Canada is the very limited inventory across the province, as manufacturers are not forced by regulation to deliver vehicles there.
The many facets of All EV Canada
To fill the gap and offer affordable EVs in Eastern Canada, Jérémie co-founded All EV Canada in 2019. The dealership is not limited to selling EVs alone. It provides maintenance and repair services and specializes in consumer education. “We also develop electric vehicle programs for educational institutions, in addition to working with governments and doing consulting.” Today, All EV Canada is recognized across the country for its EV expertise, but “without the community, the dealership would never have survived,” concludes Jérémie.
Each country and region has its own particular challenges in building a sustainable electrified transportation sector. Governments and utilities will have a major role to play in this transition, but success also depends on the community and on the engagement of individuals.