Brian Champlin alongside the RDKBs newest EV — a Hyundai Kona. (Photo submitted)

Brian Champlin alongside the RDKBs newest EV — a Hyundai Kona. (Photo submitted)

RDKB boosts its clean credentials

Submitted

The decals are on, charging stations are at the ready, and the shift to ‘clean’ is fully underway as staff at the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) welcome the fifth electric vehicle to their fleet.

Following the arrival of RDKB’s latest Hyundai Kona, four out of its five building inspectors now drive electric vehicles as the organization charts new territory in its drive to reach net zero emissions, create environmental efficiencies and decarbonize its transportation.

Brian Champlin, RDKB’s Manager of Building Inspection has been credited as the driving force behind his department’s swift transition. “He has championed the EV cause, spearheaded EV adoption, fast-tracked his team’s acceptance of the technology and as a result, it would be hard to find an organization as committed to low carbon technology as we are here in the Kootenay Boundary. We’re pioneering the way forward,” says Goran Denkovski, RDKB’s Manager of Infrastructure and Sustainability.

“Breaking through barriers to EV adoption and preparing for an all-electric future is far harder in rural and small communities. Mountainous highways often present adverse driving conditions and range anxiety among drivers is high so, what we’re achieving here is even more remarkable. At the forefront of local rural government, we’re really leading by example, and showing that EVs make sense outside of urban areas,” says Freya Phillips, RDKB’s Senior Energy Specialist.

The RDKB ordered its first Hyundai Kona electric vehicle (EV) and installed its first EV charging station in 2019 following the Board of Directors’ declaration of a climate action imperative. With the aim of reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the short to long term it now has 10 charging stations at its RDKB offices with plans and capacity for a further 12.

“Electric Vehicles make economic sense and are the perfect commuting companion. They are the ultimate solution for us and with a full charge are great at negotiating the mountain pass on either side of our Trail and Grand Forks offices,” says Brian Champlin, RDKB’s Manager of Building Inspection, whose department, typified by its regular, short-haul trips, is the most suited to electrification. “Staff have completely embraced the change. As a department, we haven’t looked back and would all like to bring the technology into our lives and homes,” he adds.

“The EVs are very easy to charge, very efficient cost wise and once you appreciate how they differ from a regular vehicle you realise just how amazing they are. They provide a very smooth, relaxing, quiet and clean drive,” explains RDKB Building & Plumbing Official Brian Zanussi.

RDKB Building & Plumbing Official Dan Siminoff is the main user of the newest EV to join the fleet and says: “The transition to electric has been pretty good so far. You have to pay attention to distance and understand how the charge changes over our region’s terrain but it’s perfect for city driving and all its stops and starts.”

“Not having to go to the gas station is a huge plus, the EV warms up instantly which is great in winter and in downhill rejuvenation mode it slows down, recharges the battery and hardly uses the brakes which helps keep maintenance costs low too,” says RDKB Building & Plumbing Official Kevin Santori.

“We are always looking for ways to improve our sustainability and this vehicle is another example of the achievements of our hardworking staff who are ever striving toward the goal of becoming a carbon neutral Local Government,” said RDKB Board Chair Linda Worley. “Over the last three years, staff have fully shifted to the benefits of electric vehicles as a practical, low-carbon way to get around the Kootenay Boundary. As charging infrastructures are included in all new facility plans, the upgrade to the Columbia Pollution Control Centre in Trail will include EV charging stations,” she adds.

The total combined number of kilometers traveled in the RDKB electric vehicles is over 75,000 km. Using the Province’s Fleet Procurement Analysis Tool, the organization saved 5,850 litres of gasoline and around 14 tC02 in greenhouse gas emissions compared to the 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid AWD previously purchased.