The eMERGE Electric Vehicle Show took over St. George’s Square downtown on Sunday, featuring eco-friendly automobiles owned by individuals and cars from dealerships, promoting what they consider the next era in transportation.

eMERGE Executive Director Evan Ferrari told The Guelph Post that electric vehicles are both good for the environment and economically viable. Ferrari said that “over 7,000 new cars are bought in Guelph every year, and if they’re all gas and diesel that’s a problem.”

“We’re trying to accelerate the move to electric because for every electric car that happens instead of a gas car, its four tons of carbon [that is saved],” he continued, stressing the urgency of the move to EVs.

EV owners pay $1,500 to $2,500 per year in operating expenses, Ferrari explained. Instead of paying some $50 for a gas tank refill, electric cars can cost less than $10 to reach maximum battery power.

He also made the case that maintenance cost are lower as there are 2,000 moving parts in a regular gas car in comparison to the average 20 in an electric vehicle.

Ferrari encouraged those that want to know more about owning an EV to attend an EV beginners class at 10C on Carden St., which happens to be where a different, louder car show was taking place on Sunday afternoon.

Ferrari said that there was 40 cars were scheduled to park downtown on Sunday along with test drives for those interested in learning more about driving electric.

When it comes to government actions on EVs, the executive director said to The Post that there is a $5,000 rebate for new electric vehicles, a saving added by the federal government after the province slashed a similar rebate.

But not everyone can afford a shiny new Tesla Model X or Chevrolet Bolt, and Ferrari was eager to offer a solution.

“What we’re also promoting here is that there is a new $1,000 rebate that’s being offered through Plug ‘n’ Drive for used cars,” Ferrari added.

It is an effort to promote what he called a growing secondary market in the EV genre of vehicle, opening up the market to more and more car buyers.

Why an EV?

Martha Wilson had her Tesla Model X on display on the concrete by IF Footwear, on of the many owners who brought their own personal vehicles to showcase the different models available.

“Tesla’s are pretty amazing cars,” Wilson told The Post. She explained that it was both beneficial to the environment and to for the future of her children — and she wanted people to consider an electric vehicle, disregarding misconceptions that they do not have long range.

Telsa’s were not the only models on display: there were cars from Chevrolet and several other vehicle brands as well.

For Wilson, however, she chose Elon Musk’s upstart electric car company due to the space offered by the Model X and said that, once they drove the Tesla, they knew that is the company they wanted to go with.

Dealers offer EVs

On of the dealerships with vehicles on display at the electric car show was local Barry Cullen Chevrolet Cadillac and a representative told The Post that it was the biggest show he has seen yet.

“Barry Cullen is the largest electric vehicle dealer for [General Motors] in Ontario,” dealer representative Dalton Blancher revealed.

He said that the new Chevrolet Bolt’s were in stock as the Volt’s are discontinued next year — popular cars that are less expensive than many of the high-priced Telsa models.

The dealership, Blancher said, does all the paperwork for the recently introduced $5,000 rebate introduced by the federal government when an individual buys from their company, an offer he said was unique to Barry Cullen.

More details to follow.