Walking the talk at CAA

Coordinated by Rebecca Spring, WWF-Canada’s Manager of Sustainable Transportation. Written by Julie Stauffer.
Since 2006, the organization has been promoting eco-friendly driving through its Autogreen program. So when office staff needed a corporate vehicle, going electric was a no-brainer. “We thought it was a great opportunity to walk the talk and be able to share our experiences with people,” says Teresa Di Felice, who spearheaded “Project Leaf.”
The pure-electric vehicle, sporting a prominent Autogreen logo, attracts plenty of interest from the public, as well as kudos from staff. “I love going out with the vehicle,” says Breanna Gaudet, the organization’s community relations specialist. “I feel like I’m doing something positive for the environment.”

Photo credit: Silvana Aceto, CAA

Pluses include the quiet ride, the minimal maintenance, and plenty of bells and whistles including a GPS system and a 360-degree rear-view camera.
Driver feedback has been positive, with no issues.  The only worry is the range and where they can get a charge.
To address that issue, CAA South Central Ontario has posted a training video on its intranet site, and would-be drivers have to pass a brief online test before hitting the road. As a result, every trip in the Leaf to date has been problem-free.
Electric vehicles make economic sense. An $8,500 provincial rebate brought down the price of leasing the Leaf. And while CAA can’t break out the costs of keeping it charged, they’re a drop in the bucket compared to gassing up a conventional car.
Jordan Simas, online copywriter, agrees. “I love it,” he says. “For short trips, I don’t think there’s anything better. It costs you nothing to drive it.”
CAA is currently developing a website that displays publicly available chargers – information that it will also incorporate into the popular CAA App. If you’re a CAA member, you can also take advantage of a 5 per cent CAA Insurance rebate if you buy an electric vehicle or a hybrid.