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Greater Victoria fuel shortages supercharge electric vehicle interest

Independent delivery drivers especially interested in EVs as they look to stay profitable
Dylan Tucker and Julian Sale of Motorize EV have fun in front of a Tesla Model 3 on their View Royal Lot. Sale said the uncertainty around gas availability in the aftermath of damaging floods has led to a surge in electric vehicle interest in Greater Victoria. (Photo Courtesy of Julian Sale)

With motorists facing long lines for gas, or not finding gas at all, already hot interest in electric vehicles has been supercharged in Greater Victoria in the wake of damaging floods.

Julian Sale, owner of Motorize Electric Vehicles, said he and his staff have been receiving even more inquiries about EVs than usual, especially from small businesses which rely on vehicles to operate.

“They are unable to justify the time and expense it takes to pay an employee to sit in a line-up at a fuel station,” Sale said.

He said the sudden uncertainty around fueling up brought on by the temporary closure of the Malahat on Highway 1 on Nov. 15 has most noticeably been pushing self-employed delivery drivers who operate on razor-thin margins to look at EVs. They’ve told him the situation is the push they needed to make the move to an EV.

“We sold a Tesla to a DoorDash driver today who is accustomed to spending $50 on fuel each day. When he switches to charging at home, he is going to be paying around $8 to do the same mileage,” he said. “With the fuel shortage we are experiencing this week, he has lost 45 minutes each day putting fuel in his car.”

READ MORE: Gas shortage hits Greater Victoria as stations deal with supply chain issues

EVs are more resistant to energy supply issues as electricity is ubiquitous, making it easier to find another charger if one is not working, Sale said, comparing it to finding a gas station which has fuel when deliveries are interrupted for an entire region. Power outages can impact charging, he said, but they also impact gas pumps.

David Grove, president of the Victoria Electric Vehicle Association, said the flooding’s impact on Island supply chains is going to serve as yet another push for wider EV adoption, as it highlights their benefits in extraordinary situations and will support the group’s advocacy efforts.

”It’s an event that seems to be shining a positive light on the electrification of the transport sector,” said Grove. “I think this event gives everything new life, in terms of our advocacy and hopes to spread our word.”

While demand is rising at an increasing pace for EVs, Sale said it isn’t necessarily leading to a sharp increase in how many are on the road. For some time now, demand has been far out-stripping supply in the EV industry, and Sale can hardly keep his lot full despite purchasing vehicles from across the country.

“We have to make sure there is a constant flow of inventory to satisfy customer needs,” he said. “They arrive at our delivery centre in View Royal, and they head right back out the door. Everything is happening super fast.”

READ MORE: 5 more fast chargers coming for EV drivers in Greater Victoria


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Justin Samanski-Langille

About the Author: Justin Samanski-Langille

I moved coast-to-coast to discover and share the stories of the West Shore, joining Black Press in 2021 after four years as a reporter in New Brunswick.
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