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CCWC Shout-Out: Clean Commuter Steven Eng

Steven caught our eye in the first week of the Clean Commuter & Wellness Challenge. As an electric vehicle user, we wanted to find out more about his commute.

Q. Where do you work? What’s your role?

I am the manager for Technology Planning & Integration and work for the department of Population & Public Health at Fraser Health. My team provides on-going support for information systems & technology solutions used by various service delivery programs in Health Protection and Public Health. My office is located in the Newport Village area of Port Moody.

Q. Why did you decide to participate in the CCWC?

I became aware of the Clean Commuting and Wellness Challenge from Fraser Health’s staff newsletter. Although I get many emails, making it hard to read every newsletter, the word “clean commuting” caught my eye. Having recently switched to using a 100% electric vehicle for my daily commute to work and during the day to various meetings, I thought I would dig deeper to find out what this was all about.

Q. Tell us about your commute.

My daily work commute is from North Vancouver (near Deep Cove) to Port Moody, which is about 23 km each way. My typical drive is across the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing and along Hastings Street in Burnaby, the Barnet Highway, St John’s Street in Port Moody, and over to Loco Road towards Newport Village.

Some work-weeks, I work primarily from my office and other weeks I travel to different locations. When I need to attend a meeting at our corporate office located in Surrey Central City, this adds another 34 km return trip from my office and back. Other days, I drive to meetings at Langley Memorial Hospital, which is about 108 km return trip from my home. I have two staff teams and one of my teams is located in the North Delta Public Health Unit site which is a 26 km drive from my office.

Q. Have you been commuting by electric vehicle for a while or is this new to you?

Commuting to work and meetings using a 100% electric vehicle is new to me. 

I have worked in the field of public health for over 35 years, have a long-term interest in environmental health as it both impacts humans and animals, and have a history of allergies and asthma. Although my family has worked hard towards the three R’s of reducing, reusing and recycling to minimize our footprint on the environment, driving a gasoline powered vehicle to work every day is something I have wanted to change. I have tried using public transit to commute to work but found it tricky, as I often need to travel to various locations during the day.

In mid-April 2016, I had an opportunity to search for another vehicle. During my search for a new but used vehicle, I considered exploring whether a hybrid or electric vehicle was within our budget and whether they would support my work-related commuting needs. My research indicated that a used Nissan Leaf would likely meet my daily driving needs when fully charged. I also discovered that there was a network of charging stations across BC and there were iPhone apps to locate these charging stations.

So in mid-April, I started using a 100% electric Nissan Leaf for my commuting and transporation needs..

Q. Do you have any advice for other individuals participating in the challenge, or keen to try a clean/active commute?​

For other individuals participating in the challenge who are using a 100% electric vehicle to commute, I am proud to be part of your circle. Kudos to those who are walking or cycling . 

I would encourage others to seriously consider switching from a gasoline powered vehicle to a 100% electric vehicle if they can. Today, there are many free charging stations located in the lower mainland and across BC. You can “top up” an electric vehicle’s battery at any time and there are “quick charge” stations starting to appear. For example, at Hastings Field (the soccer field located at the old Empire Stadium site near the PNE), I can fully charge my Nissan Leaf in 30 minutes.

There are also free parking spots in Vancouver for electric vehicles. Several weeks ago I was downtown and my wife asked if we could find a small restaurant in Yaletown. This was my first time driving there and as my GPS led us closer to the restaurant, all the street parking meters were occupied for blocks. Then I noticed a spot that was empty, which was reserved for electric vehicles and there was no parking meter! So I parked for free and recharged my vehicle for free while we went for dinner. Win/win.

And if that's not enough...

Electric vehicles can drive in the HOV lane! You will need a sticker for your vehicle, and the application form and more information can be found here