You Can Go Far with GoElectric
After seeing an article about Tesla and electric vehicles (EV), Jim Steil realized this was the future. As both an electrical engineer and a “bit of a car guy,” he decided he was going to be part of that future. Six weeks after reading the article, he was laid off from his oil patch job; he decided the time was ripe to pursue his new dream.
His original plan was to convert classic cars into electric vehicles. The first vehicle Steil set about converting was his 1966 Volvo, his “eVolvo” as he called it. Word of his plans soon spread, and requests poured in from locals, many wanting their commuter cars converted, or wanting to know what would be involved in converting it themselves. However, delivering a safe, reliable, high-quality final product requires a lot of time and expensive parts, like Tesla batteries for example.
After more research, Steil and his partner, David Lloyd, found the best option for most folks was simply to buy an EV, and the idea of GoElectric was born. GoElectric is the first exclusively electric vehicle dealership in Alberta, and only the second in Canada.
GoElectric imports used EVs from California. Because of government incentives in California encouraging consumers to purchase new electric vehicles, many lease a new EV for two years, then upgrade. This leaves a bounty of unwanted almost-new electric vehicles.
“Two-year-old EVs cost less than half as much as buying them new,” said Steil.
Many of the used cars at GoElectric are priced under $20,000, with the low-end closer to $15,000. Even a high-end electric BMW with improved range comes in about $30,000, compared with the $65,000 price tag to drive it off the lot brand new.
Thanks to their reliability and incredible efficiency – accentuated by high gas prices versus Alberta’s cheap electricity rates – electric vehicles can be as much as 10 times cheaper to drive than a gas-guzzler. Steil spends $20 a month on electricity for his electric vehicle and drives 80 km each day.
Along with sales staff, GoElectric also employs mechanics trained to service EVs, although one of the benefits of electric vehicles is their low maintenance demands. Of the 10 most common repairs to conventional gas cars, none apply to EVs. In addition to the cost savings, electric vehicles are much more responsive and quieter. But Steil encourages people to test drive an EV to find out for themselves, and get what is known in the industry as “the EV grin.”
Steil and Lloyd are confident they will meet their goal to sell 200 EVs per year. They also want to add 70kW of solar panels to the roof of the dealership to power a quick charging station for electric vehicles.
But their aspirations don’t stop at the used EV dealership: they still want to help people convert their cars, bikes, quads and boats to electric, and will be opening a 7,000 sq. ft. space in the dealership’s basement, dubbing it The GoElectric EV Underground Makerspace.
“To continue converting our own vehicles, and help others convert their vehicles themselves is where our real passion lies,” said Steil.