East Kootenay Electric Life


Ever since Toyota brought a Prius to his high school in Cranbrook, BC for Earth Day in 2009, Braeden Fairbairn knew he wanted to own an electric vehicle (EV).

It took seven years to do it, but he finally became the proud owner of a Chevy Volt Plug-in Hybrid EV in July of 2016. At the time, it was the only EV available for purchase in Cranbrook that fit his budget and lifestyle, but even more importantly he says, “I wanted to reduce my [individual] impact on the environment and an electric vehicle seemed to be one of the easiest ways to achieve that goal.” In British Columbia, where 98 percent of electricity is generated from low-carbon, renewable energy sources, Braeden believes it makes even more sense to get on the electric bandwagon.

In this way, electric vehicles are an integral piece of the climate change adaptation and mitigation puzzle. “Look at what’s happening in Norway,” he points out, a country where approximately 80 percent of new car sales have a plug. Electric vehicles, he contends, will “definitely” change the way we think about transportation — and if you don’t believe him, “all you have to do is talk to any [other] EV owner and you will immediately notice how passionate they are about their vehicles.” For the uninitiated, he quips, all it takes is one quick trip in an EV to convince them — the “smooth, quiet drive” does all the talking.

If that’s the case, however, why aren’t more folks in the East Kootenays making the switch? “Lack of knowledge [about EV operation] is the biggest barrier, followed by a lack of 4×4 and off-road capable EVs,” Braeden suggests. In this part of the province — and arguably many other regions of Canada — an outdoor lifestyle and winter driving conditions lead many to assume an EV won’t be able to handle their driving needs.

He disagrees, but understands that more education is needed, as well as greater opportunities to actually test drive an electric vehicle.

Besides which, he concludes, there are surprising benefits to being an EV owner that few people think about and which have nothing to do with the environmental gain. “The ability to charge anywhere… Every time I travel, I’m always able to find a plug — often for free — making trips super affordable.”

And if that doesn’t convince you, we encourage you to take Braeden’s advice, and go for a spin in Wildsight’s own electric vehicle share — Spark!

In 2019, Braeden purchased his dream car – a Tesla Model 3 Performance – and has never looked back. Photo captured at Wildstone Golf Course, with Fisher Peak in the background.