July 12th, 2024

Welcome to the Age of Electric

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on March 3, 2023.

Herald photo by Al Beeber Nissan has just rolled out its latest electric, a modern sport utility vehicle called the Ariya.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

Welcome to the Age of Electric.

With global automakers increasing their introduction of all-electric vehicles, a new era of transportation is quickly emerging.

As the impacts of climate change loom large, the polluting internal combustion engine is gradually going the way of the dinosaur whose remains provide their fuel.

Since the first electrics began appearing in dealerships, both range and the number of charging stations have increased dramatically.

In southern Alberta, charging stations can be found from the Montana border north to Calgary, west to the B.C. border and east to Saskatchewan.

A commuter can easily drive to Edmonton with no fear of finding a place to charge.

In Lethbridge, there are fast-charging stations at multiple locations including at the Alberta Health Unit on 1 Ave. S. and the ATB Centre in West Lethbridge.

One of the first mainstream electric vehicles was the Nissan Leaf which arrived in North America in 2010.

Now Nissan has just rolled out its latest electric, a modern sport utility vehicle called the Ariya.

The first Ariya has arrived at McDonald Nissan and it has the potential to be a game-changer for buyers interested in leaving gasoline behind and switching to all-electric propulsion.

The Ariya is Nissan’s first electric SUV and it’s available in both front- and all-wheel drive configurations with standard and long-range batteries.

The Ariya at McDonald Nissan is a FWD extended range Evolve+ edition which Nissan Canada says has a range of up to 465 kilometres.

This is more than enough for a motorist to take a drive to Red Deer (359 km), Banff (333 kms), Kalispell (319 kms) or Great Falls (297 kms). Want to hit Calgary? With its distance of 216 km, a person could theoretically get to a destination there and back on one charge.

How about a day trip to Waterton? At only 133 kms, there would definitely be no need to charge up once there.

With 238 horsepower and 221 lb. ft. of torque, the Ariya has enormous get-up and go. And it does so in total silence.

With Nissan’s superb Zero Gravity seats, the driver could sit behind the wheel facing the enormous electronic display, for hours in total comfort. With a huge sunroof, every passenger in the spacious cab will feel they’re riding topless.

The test vehicle provided here also has a heads-up display so a driver can monitor speed without taking eyes off the road. Steering feel is responsive, the ride smooth and fit and finish is exceptional.

Its regenerative braking system is superb and has a feature that automatically begins braking the Ariya when the foot is taken off the gas pedal. The brake pedal will actually depress on its own with this function activated and the Ariya slows quickly. It’s a nifty tool for regeneration that could also be seen as a safety feature while traversing city seats.

The rear seats of the Ariya are spacious and in the model here, heated as well. It also has great cargo capacity making it as functional as any other SUV on the road.

The difference is a person doesn’t need to buy gas.

As sales and lease consultant Rob Thomson – a veteran of the Lethbridge auto industry – says, a person using it for commuting use would only have to charge the Ariya infrequently.

To speed charging rates, a person who goes electric will preferably also have installed a Level 2 charging system at home. These operate on a 240-volt circuit and can provide up to 80 amps of power for a charging rate estimated by website thecharge.ca up to 40 to 50 km of range per hour. With this kind of charger, a person can easily charge an electric overnight. With a cheaper Level 1 charger, it could take up to 15 hours to charge an EV, says the website.

When charging the Ariya, a person will see a blue light blinking on the dashboard at the base of the windshield. When the SUV is fully charged, the light goes off.

The first 80 per cent of charging can be done relatively quickly with the last 20 per cent taking the longest time, noted Thomson.

But even at 80 per cent, the Ariya should still have a range of just over 380 kms, a considerable distance. Range, as Thomson notes, will vary depending upon how much electricity is being used for the radio or air conditioning/heat.

While electric vehicles are evolving, the Ariya may be a revolution with its versatility and range. This is a practical mainstream electric SUV that heralds a bright future for not only Nissan but for electrics in general.

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