Yesterday I went on a first date with an Electric Vehicle (EV), a local edition of #WWF Canada’s #EVFirstDates campaign! Iain Klugman, CEO of Communitech, and I spent some quality time with a Nissan Leaf, generously loaned to us by Greg Vann Nissan!

I have to say, I have not been on a first date for over 20 years, so I was nervous, but the Leaf was a perfect gentleman! We had to start out taking a peek at what was under the hood. It is pretty cool how much power can be put into such a small space.

Once we got started (I did need some instructions on how to start!) it was as I expected. The car was smooth, quiet and pretty powerful! Riding in an EV brought up the topic of sustainable transportation overall. Iain and his team at Communitech have been really strong supporters of bringing in all sorts of transportation options, including the Ion, a light rail transit line which is coming to Waterloo Region as well as the much discussed all day, two-way Go train service. I could not agree more that having a range of options available will help everyone in the region find a greener way to work. Riding with Iain was a blast. We talked about all kinds of things, from the Mennonites in Waterloo Region to the incredible innovations that are being commercialized at Communitech. I was so impressed with how knowledgeable and connected Iain is – and funny too.

Rather than just enjoying the sites, we decided that a visit to the University of Waterloo was in order. The folks at 20/20 Laboratory for Fuel Cell and Green Energy R D & D kindly invited us to visit and gave Iain and I a tour of the research facility. Thanks to Aaron and Grant for the tour, and the insight into the work that they are doing. It is incredible to think that these little fuel cells, only about a millimeter thick and powered by hydrogen, could be one of the major sources of energy in the future!

Here they are working on fuel cell innovations that could be partnered with electric vehicle technology to create the perfect sustainable car that offers both efficiency, performance and extended range capabilities. It was then time to head back to the office. Of course on the way back, I had to test the pickup! No law breaking occurred, but that Leaf would have been happy to oblige. In the end Iain and I decided that this sustainable transportation thing is pretty cool. Anyone that follows me on Twitter knows that I would love to have an EV, and Iain said he would consider one in the future. Iain did have a brilliant idea! He suggested that an EV manufacturer should give me a car. It would be a good fit with our mission, and I would be happy to brand it up and promote the heck out of it!

Electric vehicles are a significant part of the green transportation revolution that is happening. When considered in partnership with things such as cycling, walking and transit, there are choices for everyone that make getting around all that much better. Iain and I had a great time. In fact, we have already planned our next outing. We both want to be on the first train that rides the rails on the Ion in Waterloo Region in 2017.


See the live tweets by following @sustainablewat, @chargewr and #EVFirstDates!