Because the Manitoba Electric Vehicle Association (MEVA) is a member of the Manitoba Association of Automobile Clubs, some folks assume that MEVA members are simply a bunch of gear-heads-against-exhaust-pipes. Well, it’s true, some MEVA members are handy with a wrench. They get their kicks customizing and cruising, but many are avid walkers, cyclists and transit riders, too! In fact, anyone who attends MEVA’s monthly meetings quickly learns that the women and men of this association range widely in age and come from various backgrounds: students, educators, photographers, executive assistants, retirees, a librarian, a couple of world-renowned energy analysts, a Past-President of Nature Manitoba, the Chair of Sustainable Building Manitoba, two Directors of the Manitoba Sustainable Energy Association… Several MEVA members live in exceptionally energy efficient homes; one lives in a straw bale house; one lives in a home that’s LEED Certified; and two designed, built and live in a home which is completely off the grid. Fortunately, the Manitoba Electric Vehicle Association does have a sizeable nucleus of techno-geeks — two highly successful inventors; several electrical, mechanical, structural and automotive technicians and engineers; and more. Fuelled by the wealth of knowledge which all these folks share at meetings, MEVA members have become some of Canada’s most determined and effective environmental activists!
MEVA was founded because members recognized that one of the greatest threats to our environment is the pollution from internal combustion engines. Utilizing their diverse talents and experience, those members began to lead the transition away from fossil fuels.
At the advent of modern, electric vehicles, some members of MEVA were among the key organizers of the world’s first international conference to promote the development and use of hybrid vehicle technology, PHEV2007. That successful conference attracted the world’s leading experts, people who helped draw the roadmap for the global drive to develop and implement plugin vehicle technology.
Initially, as manufacturers began producing plugin electric vehicles, many refused to sell them in Canada. So, to prove that EVs could function well in cold climates, several MEVA members removed the gas-powered motors from their vehicles and replaced them with home-made EV technology. Most are still driving those converted battery-electric vehicles today!
Eventually, Mitsubishi began selling the planet’s most efficient battery-electric car, the iMiEV. For years, it was available in other countries, but not north of the U.S. border. Thanks to the persistence of a member of the Manitoba Electric Vehicle Association the Vice-President of Mitsubishi presented that MEVA member with the keys to the very first of many iMiEVs which have been sold in Canada.
More Nissan LEAFs have been sold around the globe than any other battery-electric vehicle. The very first Nissan LEAF retailed in western Canada was sold in the fall of 2011, to a MEVA member.
When GM finally decided to produce a plugin hybrid-electric vehicle, the Chevy Volt, the company wouldn’t sell it in Manitoba. So, a charter member of MEVA convinced Winnipeg auto dealer Larry Vickar to find a way around GM’s prohibition, thus beginning the sale of Volt’s in our province. Similarly, when GM launched its all-electric Chevy Bolt, that EV was not available in Manitoba. Once again, that same member of MEVA provided Larry with a reason that enabled Larry to convince GM to change its decision.
These are just a very few of the many, many ways in which MEVA members have demonstrated deep commitment to improving the environment, by making it possible for people in this province and across this country to reduce their environmental impact, when they drive.
So, if you were to characterize the members of the Manitoba Electric Vehicle Association, would it be accurate to say that we’re a bunch of gear-heads? No, not all of us are mechanically talented enough to qualify as gear-heads. It’s also not true to say that all MEVA members are opposed to exhaust pipes, because, if you turn the large-diameter pipes upright and bolt them to garage walls, they make great holders for EV charging nozzles!