LC3 Case Studies
Ottawa has committed to an ambitious goal: 90 per cent of all new passenger vehicles purchased in the city being EV by 2030, and growing that to 100 per cent by 2040. Meeting this goal would result in avoiding approximately 600,000 tonnes of CO2e cumulative through 2030 and approximately 1.1 million tonnes of CO2e per year in 2050.
Adoption of EVs to date has been slow, with only 2.6 per cent of new passenger vehicles purchased in 2021 being electric.
The good news is, after learning more about EVs and participating in test drives, adoption of the vehicles grows substantially. In fact, according to research by Plug ‘n Drive in Toronto, likelihood to purchase an EV within six moths of a test drive soared by two to three times.
EnviroCentre has launched EV Experience, with support from OCAF the Ottawa Community Foundation and Natural Resources Canada, to break down barriers to access and shift the perception of electric vehicles in Ottawa. The program has three main goals:
- Provide up-to-date information about electric vehicles through the EV Experience website to raise awareness of the benefits of switching away from gas powered vehicles
- Help Ottawa residents access free test drives and rides in electric vehicles, as this has been proven to be an effective way of demonstrating the benefits of electric vehicles – and increasing EV use and sales.
- Add 5 electric vehicles to Ottawa’s Communauto car sharing fleet – this ensures that all Ottawa communities have access to zero emissions vehicles – regardless of income.
EV Experience makes it easy for Ottawans to test drive and learn about EVs. It offers three main components – a website, educational test drive events, and EV car shares.
Its website provides Ottawa residents up-to-date, relevant information in plain language about electric vehicles. And if website users have questions that they can’t find an answer to, EV Experience can connect them with experts who are ready to help.
Educational events and free EV Test Drives across the Ottawa region, supported by the Electric Vehicle Council of Ottawa, bring EVs to all communities, including those typically underserved by electric vehicle education.
- The project will help surmount the key obstacle of lack of familiarity, knowledge and firsthand experience with EVs
- Ottawans will be more likely to: consider an EV for their next vehicle purchase, to recommend EVs and to sign up for carsharing
- Equity & diversity – increased accessibility of EVs to all Ottawans, from renters to rural and in lower-income neighbourhoods
- Achieving the City’s EV adoption goals (90% of sales by 2030, 100% by 2040) would result in approximately 600,000 tCO2e cumulative savings through 2030 and approximately 1,100,000 tCO2e per year in 2050.
Spin-off project: Ottawa Community Housing EV Car Sharing Pilot
The collaborative capacity built in co-creating The EV Experience led to a spin-off project to pilot EV car-sharing with Communauto at Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) that will launch in September. Through the pilot, one EV charger will be installed at an OCH property, and one EV will be available for use by OCH residents and the neighbouring community. OCH residents at the property will be eligible for a free 1-year Communauto membership. Extensive outreach and education will be offered to OCH residents and the surrounding community regarding the benefits of EVs.
The pilot is expected to catalyze the following benefits as it is scaled up:
- Environmental benefits: reduced GHG emissions and VKT/capita
- Social and economic benefits for tenants: reduced vehicle & parking costs, improved quality of life through access to a car only when needed
- Economic benefits for OCH: reduced parking costs
- Benefits to Communauto: potential increased adoption of memberships, the permanency of an anchor tenant, low-carbon business model insights
- Replication potential: Provide a potential model for private MURBs (multi unit residential buildings)
1- The project exemplifies OCAF’s Carbon Down and Community Up framing: EVs aren’t just for the wealthy. The project prioritizes equity by fostering an EV experience for lower-income Ottawans who cannot afford an EV – and provide opportunity for ongoing EV use through the carsharing model. Moreover, two of the Communauto EVs will be located in lower-income communities (including one at Ottawa Community Housing properties).
2- The project also models the Ottawa Community Foundation’s (which incubates OCAF) priority to foster public-private-philanthropic-community collaboration to maximize financial leverage, impact and community benefit.
3- This project was built upon a collaborative rather than a competitive model.
- The concept was founded following an initial hack-a-thon sponsored by the City, which led to co-development by several partners thereby building trust among the partners and enhanced collaborative capacity.
- The collaboration reflects an abundance rather than scarcity approach (collaboration resulted in crowding in of more funding than if any organization went it alone).
- The NRCan call for funding opportunity enabled OCAF and the project partners to think bigger than what we could do with initial funding
- This collaborative capacity is already bearing fruit through catalysis of a spin-off project
4- Hands-on LC3 approach. It took a lot of upfront time and effort on the part of OCAF, EnviroCentre, Communauto and the other partners to develop a compelling and practical project concept.
- OCAF judged that it was worth putting in the time to tap staff technical knowledge, expertise in transportation sector research, proposal writing experience, practitioner network contacts and partnership and convening skills to co-develop a compelling and competitive proposal to attract more funding to low-carbon practitioners in Ottawa and build Ottawa’s low-carbon ecosystem capacity.
- OCAF has limited capacity for intensive engagement in project cultivation, team building and development, so we can’t always roll up our sleeves as we did on this project. But we have identified an important role that we can play to support effective collaboration to co-design impactful projects and compelling proposals to increase financial leverage and project impact. We will consider lighter-touch approaches, such as serving as a proposal concept reviewer to identify opportunities to increase impact, leverage, equity benefits and partnering synergies, and explore opportunities to direct and marshal resources to support lower-capacity organizations in developing competitive proposals.