By Joanne Lee-Young, Vancouver Sun
Surrey resident Harm Bhullar and his young nephew Nihaal have a tradition of hitting the Vancouver International Auto Show together.
“I like seeing all those fast cars. Bugatti. Lamborghini,” says Nihaal, rattling off his faves like the veteran he already is, at only 11 years old.
This year, the two of them, along with other gas-guzzling aficionados, are also spending some time thinking about electric vehicles. For Harm, it’s both about being practical and philosophical.
“Definitely, I’m thinking about the price of gas,” he says, shaking his head at the cost of fuel with prices recently cracking the $1.55 a litre mark.
“It’s also about thinking about the future. It’s part of this generation to look forward, not backward. Our generation, our parents had big, big cars with power engines and so we wanted that, too.”
He says they still really love looking at all the shiny, new cars, and sitting in them, which is the joy of any auto show.
But lately, he’s also been thinking about how his choices might affect those of his nephew. “If we want them, he will want them.”
And so, they are lingering at the Hyundai booth, asking about its new Kona electric SUV, which is to hit the market later in 2018.
It’s been gathering some buzz at this year’s show because it’s boasting the ability to go 400 km on a single battery charge, putting it ahead of the other more affordable electric vehicle, Chevrolet’s popular Bolt, which can go for 383 km.
That would be plenty of so-called range for Frank Mannella, who lives and works in Burnaby.
A visitor to the 2018 Vancouver International Auto Show looks at a Toyota Mirai in Vancouver. RICHARD LAM / PNG
“I suspect my next vehicle will be our last gas car. There is the environmental factor and also gas prices,” he says. “It’s just about the infrastructure to support it. I could charge it at the office.”
However, aside from practical and philosophical, there’s also passion to consider when it comes to cars.
“It would a car for daily driving, not a weekend drive,” he says, admitting he’s a sports car enthusiast.
Alex Li agrees. “If you like driving, as opposed to just going from point a to b and being efficient and non-polluting, then an electric car isn’t quite the same.”
Still, he’s looking at some of them, poking at Toyota’s Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car, juggling the trade-offs of using an extremely fuel-efficient car like the gas-powered Mazdas he has always liked versus the carbon footprint of batteries and charging stations.
Andy Kettley describes himself as a “petrol head. I’ve owned a couple of muscle cars. Dodge Hellcat. A Camaro. The Hellcat drinks gas like nobody.”
He also attends the show every year and is checking out some trucks with his toddler grandson. There’s definitely more of a selection of electrical vehicles than in the past, when they were one-offs, he says.
“People aren’t as scared because they can go further now,” says Andy.
Take his son, Sean, who drives a truck between Maple Ridge and Vancouver and wants to find out more about options such as Mitsubishi’s Outlander hybrid.
“It would be a big move,” says Sean.