This week we spoke to a dreamer who defied all logic and drove his electric vehicle the entire length of the Dempster Highway to the Arctic ocean and back, over the snowy mountains during the coldest and probably most dangerous part of winter to do so.

He did this in spite of the lack of proper charging stations along the way. A good distribution of rapid charging stations, much like the gas stations that exist nowadays, is essential for the range of vehicles regardless of what energy source they’re using for momentum.

No infrastructure turned out to be no problem for him, as he was able to find support from those who wanted to see him succeed, ranging from individuals with power outlets to the road crews letting him use their garages along the Dempster to get him along the way.

In the process he helped showcase the infrastructure challenges needed for electric vehicles to become a normal part of life in the North — rapid charging stations are needed but also something to keep the engine and battery warm while charging. This may be as simple a solution as a good battery or heating blanket.

But the fact he managed to do this without either shows the technology is ready for the North. All we have to do is build the infrastructure.

Considering the number one complaint in the North is the high cost of fuel and the consequential high cost of everything else, electrifying the NWT’s commercial vehicle fleet and the Beaufort Delta in particular should be a priority for the next legislature. EVs would be a game changer up here.

Instead of paying $200 or more twice a week to fill up, you would plug your car into your home. Once a rapid charging station network is in place, day trips to Tuktoyaktuk and Fort McPherson would be an easy task. Crossing the Dempster in eight hours may be a stretch, but certainly would be faster than the three days using non-rapid stations.

Don’t want to turn your car off because it’s -30 C or 30 C outside? Don’t worry, you’re not creating any emissions. And if you’re one of the privileged folks in town who got a solar panelled roof before NTPC put the 50 per cent limit on the town, your daily commute is free all summer.

Stuck in snow or mud? Could have your powerful hemispherical engine spin tires, or you could use your EV that has 100 per cent torque. Everyone remember Elon Musk’s cybertruck demonstration? Now Ford, GM and Dodge are making electric trucks of their own.

Just as few sustenance hunters use a bow or dog sled anymore with the availability of rifles and snowmobiles, no business in their right mind would continue to burn money on gasoline when a superior product is available. EVs are demonstrably superior on most fronts, and they’re catching up fast in the areas they’re currently lacking in.

Of course there are people who will insist this is nonsense, that EVs will never displace gasoline and nothing will ever change. Let’s recall there were people who said the same about solar power some 20 years ago. Nowadays, you can power your entire cabin on solar and the technology is putting coal out of business.

People who say EVs have no future today will be ones complaining they were left behind in 20 years. Let’s not be those people.

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Sick of reading my opinions? How about some of your own? Send us a guest column on what you would do if you were premier of the NWT.

Eric Bowling

Your source for all things happening in the Beaufort Delta. Eric jumped at the chance to write for the Inuvik Drum after cutting his teeth in Alberta. He enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee....

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  1. Don’t forget electric aircraft….the present fossil fuel powered ones are by far the greatest contributors to global warming.