BC Hydro and Chevrolet Charge Into Clean Mobility Future

Vehicle fleets in B.C. are going green thanks to a new partnership between BC Hydro and Chevrolet Canada. BC Hydro will work with Chevrolet to help place fifteen Chevrolet Volts into the fleets of B.C.-based organizations late next summer, with at least two of those vehicles being added to BC Hydro’s own fleet.

The partnership is aimed at promoting consumer adoption of plug-in electric vehicles with lithium ion batteries and building awareness of the environmental benefits of the electric cars.

"Electric vehicles will play an important role in B.C.’s clean energy future. When powered by B.C.’s hydroelectricity, electric vehicles can greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation," said Energy Minister Steve Thomson. "British Columbia is playing a lead role in creating a culture of acceptance for environmentally-friendly transportation solutions and we are pleased to be able to work with automotive industry leaders, like Chevrolet, to accelerate the arrival of plug-in vehicles to our province."

With extended-range capability, the Volt has a total driving range of about 580 kilometres. For the first 40 to 80 kilometres, the vehicle drives gas-free and produces zero tailpipe-emissions by using electricity stored in the battery. When the battery runs low, an engine-generator seamlessly engages to provide electricity, extending the Volt’s driving range by about 500 kilometres.

"We are pleased to work with BC Hydro as a leading partner to prepare to launch the Chevrolet Volt, an award-winning product that delivers an electric vehicle solution without compromise," said Kevin Williams, president and managing director of GM of Canada. "Unlike any other electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt eliminates range-anxiety with its extended range capability, and gives customers the freedom to drive green without the fear of being stranded with a depleted battery."

With B.C.’s hybrid adoption rate being 2.5 times higher than other provinces, BC Hydro anticipates that our province will have one of the highest electric vehicle adoption rates in North America.

"There is significant interest in electric vehicles in B.C., and as the primary fuel supplier for these cars of the future, BC Hydro has been involved in numerous initiatives to learn more about how electric vehicles will interact with our electrical system," said Bev Van Ruyven, deputy CEO and executive vice-president, BC Hydro. "As we work towards key clean energy goals, we will continue to advance sustainability and conservation and encourage British Columbians to use energy and all other resources wisely."

To prepare for the arrival of electric vehicles, BC Hydro has taken the lead in the development of codes and standards, worked with Natural Resources Canada to develop guidelines for charging infrastructure guidelines and participated in a North America-wide research and development collaboration regarding plug-in vehicles with General Motors, the Electric Power Research Institute and 34 top North American utilities to facilitate integration of plug-in hybrid vehicles into the grid.

Recently, the Chevrolet Volt has been recognized with a number of awards in advance of its retail launch in the U.S. this month, including:

* Car and Driver’s 10 Best
* Green Car Journal’s 2011 Green Car of the Year
* AUTOMOBILE Magazine 2011 Automobile of the Year
* Motor Trend 2011 Car of the Year
* 10 Best Engines for 2011 by Ward’s AutoWorld magazine

Last week, Chevrolet released plans for the introduction of the Volt to Canada in the third quarter of 2011, and named Vancouver, Victoria, Montreal, Quebec City, Oshawa, Toronto and Ottawa-Gatineau as launch markets. Canadian pricing for the Volt has not yet been announced.

BC Hydro is a commercial Crown corporation owned by the Province of British Columbia and is one of North America’s leading providers of clean, renewable energy. As the largest electric utility in British Columbia and the third largest in Canada, BC Hydro serves approximately 95 per cent of British Columbia’s population and 1.8 million customers. BC Hydro provides clean energy solutions to its customers by balancing British Columbians’ energy needs today with respect for the environment and future generations to come.