Staying after class – for a very good reason - The Orca
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Staying after class – for a very good reason

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Jody Vance: Why not make it easier to charge EVs – and help cash-strapped schools at the same time? Sometimes solutions are right in front of us.

Six months ago, I joined the many British Columbians with the purchase of an electric hybrid vehicle

Goals:

  • Lower carbon footprint
  • Access the HOV lane
  • Cut the cost of fuel (duh).

Here’s where I admit the ugly truth: I’ve plugged my car in a grand total of ONCE since buying it. Once.

I’ve tried more than once, but for various, annoying, reasons it just didn’t happen. Mostly, those charging stations I might access are all taken.

I’m anything but an infrastructure expert here, but…

The other day I noticed a new single charging station in my neighbourhood elementary school parking lot. A little reconnaissance showed that it was for “staff only.”

That got me thinking, why not stack charging stations in school lots across the province as a way to help the community AND raise funds for individual schools?

Hear me out. A little ingenuity and this could really work.

First, have to believe the technology must exist to ONLY allow non-staff to charge outside school hours. That’s an easy fix to the argument that lots would be filled when teachers need them.

Simplistic idea? Sure. However, I need not be an expert on the cost/reward equation here to see the potential to not just pay for itself, but serve some gravy for starved school PACs.

For a fee, I bet one of the app-based charging stations would be only too happy to install their product.

This doesn’t need to stop at elementary schools. Go big or go home! High schools, community colleges, universities. Why not?

Each of these stations would suddenly become a school fundraiser – this generation’s equivalent to the car wash or bake sale, without a single soapy sponge lifted or cookie baked.

It’s win/win/win.

Try it as a pilot project. Put charging stations in a few public school parking lots, and allow general use during non-school hours. Add a “per charge” fee that the education system earns from each and every car. Add all that raised money into the school budget.

Imagine it: evenings. Weekends. Stat holidays. Pro-D days. Christmas vacation. March break. All summer? Parking spots for communities with the ability to charge up and give back to the school board.

Consumer wins, school wins and the environment wins. Even municipal and provincial governments struggling to keep ahead of demand will win with the positive press that comes with checking those boxes.

It’s not even new; this is already happening at some big box stores. We only need to follow that model.

Watching the province burn is a nightmare. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone not in agreement that we all need to try something, anything, to stem the tide of this climate emergency. In our house, one of those things is my hybrid Prius Prime.

I’m ready to plug my car in and even pay a premium to do so. Just give me a convenient place to do it! I would be willing to tie into my home, but there’s nowhere to charge with street parking anywhere near. Schools and government-run buildings can be another step in a better electrified direction.

If it sounds too rainbows and unicorns and a list of a million reason why this can’t work is tossed back at me, fine. Perhaps I’m watching (rewatching) too much Ted Lasso — but sometimes not knowing the roadblocks is how we find the good idea. Today’s Middle is an idea. One born out of a search for solutions rather than pointing to the shortcomings.

Jody Vance is a born and raised Vancouverite who’s spent 30 years in both local and national media. The first woman in the history of Canadian TV to host her own sports show in primetime, since 2011 she’s been working in both TV and radio covering news and current affairs.

SWIM ON:

  • COVID-19 and the heat dome laid bare an uncomfortable fact: in a crisis, seniors get left behind. With more heatwaves inevitable, have we learned the lesson?
  • Demand for EVs is only going to increase, say analysts. John Clinkard peers into the not-too-distant future, and sees something (and someplace) much better than Biff Tannen’s Hill Valley. (If you get it, you get it.)
  • Having a place to plug in – or more to the point, not having one – is a major issue in BC’s more rural regions – as Dene Moore knows only too well.
SWIM ON