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Opening of purpose-built Discovery Centre is major milestone for electric vehicles in Canada

By: Kiki Cekota
May 25, 2017

Speakers at the EVDC ribbon-cutting ceremony. Photo: Kenneth Chou.

“The biggest crisis that humanity has ever had to tackle is solved by this,” said Glen Murray, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, gesturing to the Tesla to his left. Murray gave an address at the ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the Electric Vehicle Discovery Centre (EVDC), a space where Torontonians can learn more about and test drive electric vehicles for free.

The EVDC is an initiative of Plug‘n Drive, external link, a non-profit organization working to increase EV adoption across Canada. They began life as a startup in the Centre for Urban Energy’s Clean Energy Zone before opening the EVDC. The centre is a partnership between Plug’n Drive, the Province of Ontario, TD Bank Group, Ontario Power Generation, Power Workers’ Union, Toronto Hydro and Bruce Power.

Cara Clairman, CEO and president of Plug’n Drive, described why the EVDC is important for Toronto and its residents.

“There was a real need for a one stop shop where people could come and learn about electric cars and take a test drive in a no sales pressure environment,” said Clairman. “This EV Discovery Centre is the first facility of its kind in the world focused entirely on providing an experiential learning environment for its visitors.”

The EVDC provides visitors with information about purchasing an EV, and, if they express interest, refers them to an EV-certified dealership in their area. The centre has an indoor showcase of the latest EV, interactive displays to educate visitors about EV technology and Ontario’s electricity sector, and Toronto Hydro powered public charging stations in the test drive area.

The centre is also executing a four-year plan for carbon reduction in the transportation sector through education, research and innovation.

Don MacKinnon, president of the Power Workers’ Union, David Collie, CEO of the Electrical Safety Authority and Chair of Plug’n Drive’s Board of Directors, and Anthony Haines, president and CEO of Toronto Hydro Corporation gave remarks at the ribbon cutting event.  

The EVDC is located at 1126 Finch Ave. W. Vehicles available for free test drives include the Nissan LEAF, the BMW i-3 and the Chevrolet BOLT.

You can view more photos from the event via Plug'n Drive's Flickr channel, external link, opens in new window.

Kiki Cekota is a third-year Journalism student at Ryerson University.

"This EV Discovery Centre is the first facility of its kind in the world focused entirely on providing an experiential learning environment for its visitors."