Photo: In addition to being able to charge multiple EVs simultaneously, Gene can charge alternative transportation such as e-bikes.
To help achieve our goal of being carbon neutral by 2050, Teck is constantly looking at ways to reduce our emissions through innovative and sustainable technology. Beyond this goal for our own progress, we are also working to support local community initiatives as they transition to a low-carbon future. In the Elk Valley, this has included working closely with local communities to raise awareness of the benefits of electric vehicle (EV) technology, while supporting its adoption in the region.
In 2021, this work included the launch of Canada’s largest clean energy, mobile electric charger unit in the East Kootenays.
‘Gene’ the E-generator
To make this project happen, Teck partnered with Portable Electric (PE), a Vancouver-based energy technology company, and B.C. based non-profit Community Energy Association (CEA)
Known as Gene, the mobile charger is a Voltstack E-Generator, with two Level 2 chargers capable of providing 75 km of range per hour of charging to EVs.
Gene is capable of diverse applications. In addition to being able to charge multiple EVs simultaneously, it can charge alternative transportation such as e-bikes, power food trucks at community festivals and farmers’ markets, sound and lighting equipment for concerts, and can be used for back-up power and to support power for wildfire response crews.
What’s more, it’s completely silent and emissions free and can be recharged in a number of ways, including through an EV station or solar generation. The reduction in noise creates benefits for the community, and means Gene can be used in sensitive natural areas and confined spaces.
Generating awareness region-wide
While Gene’s technology is impressive, one of the biggest benefits is how it provides an opportunity to deepen engagement with the public on the future of low-carbon transportation.
As Megan Lohmann, Director of Strategic Initiatives at CEA notes, the charger “exemplifies the type of innovative leadership that is necessary to support our transition to a low carbon future. Leveraging the strengths of each of the partners, the mobile charger provides communities across the region with an opportunity to interact with emerging technology in a very tangible way.”
Gene will operate in the region year-round, providing the local communities with an opportunity to learn more about the applicability of battery and electric vehicle technology in the region—including its effectiveness in cold weather and in rural communities.
Since its launch, the charger has been available in multiple locations throughout the East Kootenays, including Fernie, Elkford and Sparwood. Going forward, it will be deployed in locations across the broader region.
Being fully funded by Teck, built by PE and managed by CEA, Gene is a great example of how we are working together with local organizations to come up with innovative and sustainable solutions.
It will help meet the local demand for charging infrastructure to support local residents, businesses and tourists. More importantly, it’s a key educational tool, raising awareness of the applicability of its unique, sustainable technology, and showcasing the many benefits of electric battery technology, including applicability in cold weather and rural communities
Together, we are supporting the transition to a low-carbon future, one charge at a time. Learn more about our approach to Climate Change on our website.