TorontoNissanLeaf.jpgTORONTO, Ontario, Canada April 20, 2017 (ENS) - In celebration of Earth Day on April 22, Scotiabank has announced it is having over 30 electric vehicle charging stations installed at select Scotiabank branches across the province of Ontario.

 

"We believe every customer has the right to become better off. For those making an effort to create a healthier environment by driving electric vehicles, we are happy to support them by offering charging stations at Scotiabank locations," said Terri Williams, vice president, Corporate Social Responsibility at Scotiabank.

 

Some of the 2017 electric cars from Chevrolet and Tesla will be coming to the King St. entrance of Scotia Plaza in Toronto on April 20 and 21 so that Torontonians will be able to learn about the latest technology in electric cars ahead of Earth Day.

 

Scotiabank says it is proud to offer its EcoLiving Auto Loan Program, which provides preferential financing for the purchase of electric, hybrid and clean diesel vehicles.

 

Scotiabank donates $10 to the Nature Conservancy of Canada for every loan booked through the program. Since the program launched in 2012, it has raised over $100,000 in donations for conservation stewardship in Canada.

 

The donations support NCC's Conservation Volunteers program, which invites Canadians of all ages to participate in hands-on conservation activities.

 

The bank is betting that these charging stations will be needed as Canada warms up to electric cars and becomes interested in driverless cars.

 

Considered a "disruptive" transportation development, the Conference Board of Canada is exploring what driverless cars will mean for the country at its Automated Vehicles 2017 conference on April 19-20, in Toronto.

 

Keynote speaker on Wednesday, Minister of Transport Marc Garneau said that Canada's transportation sector is undergoing a period of transformative change.

 

He said connected and automated vehicles are creating new possibilities, such as improvements to safety, efficiency, environmental benefits, expansion of mobility, and the creation of new economic opportunities for jobs and investments in Canada.

 

The Liberal government of Justin Trudeau is launching a Smart-Cities Challenge to catalyze investment in the Internet of Things including smart roads, smart traffic systems and integrated transportation grids.

 

Through this investment and others, said Garneau, the Canadian government will focus on accelerating the adoption of zero-emission connected and automated vehicles – vehicles that will be cleaner and safer than today’s cars, and will help reduce the pollution caused by traffic congestion.

 

Ontario's first automated vehicles began operating on public roads last November in a pilot project involving three cars developed by the University of Waterloo, the Erwin Hymer Group and BlackBerry QNX.

 

Barrie Kirk, executive director of the Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence said then, "Within Canada this is a first and it's a very important first."

 

At the Conference Board of Canada event Wednesday, in a panel session that included Ryan Lanyon, who chairs the city of Toronto's Automated Vehicles Working Group, speakers wrestled with the idea that despite the future movement to driverless and connected cars, today most Canadians still prefer private vehicle ownership.

 

Lanyon says he is the first full-time staff member dedicated to automation preparedness in a North American municipality.

 

“Officially, the City does not have a policy or position on vehicle automation,” Lanyon says. “As staff, we’re in the position of trying to navigate a lot of uncertainty in how automation will impact our services and what demands it will create on the transportation system. Our role right now is to ask better questions.”

 

Toronto will be doing thorough research between 2017 and 2019 through their working group, which will partner with universities and industry to examine the potential effects of driverless cars and report their findings back to Toronto City Council.

 

Panelists acknowledged that making shared mobility a viable and desirable model in Canada is still a work in progress.

 

Recognizing the role of policy at multiple levels of government, and the need for partnerships between the public and private sectors, this session set out the building blocks for an automated, shared and clean mobility system.

 

They discussed the environmental priorities that have become central to the city planning process - reducing and preventing urban sprawl, calming vehicular traffic by reducing the need to travel by car, and reducing emissions.

 

Participants said that for automated vehicles to help achieve these policy goals, they need to run cleanly and operate in a shared mobility system, so that private vehicle ownership becomes the exception and not the rule.

 

PHOTO: An electric Nissan Leaf in Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Photo by WD Wilson)

 

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