Electric car-share vehicle finds home at Brainsport

When Brainsport owner Brian Michasiw was first asked if he would give up a store parking stall so the Saskatoon CarShare Co-operative could park an electric vehicle there, he wasn’t interested.

The co-operative has a fleet of five electric cars whose power is offset by solar panels. The SCC used to park a car in a parking stall owned by a Broadway apartment building, but a change in building ownership meant the co-operative was looking for a new home for the car this year — preferably in the Broadway neighbourhood in a nose-in parking spot so a charging station could be easily installed and protected.

Brainsport only had five off-street parking stalls and Michasiw was reluctant to lose one.

“But, after thinking and discussing with my staff, I had a change go heart,” Michasiw said. “Brainsport encourages our community to live a healthy active lifestyle. Trying to reduce our community’s carbon footprint by supporting a solar-powered car that the community can share seemed like the right thing to do.”

A Brainsport parking stall was turned into a permanent SCC parking stall — complete with electric car charger — in January.

SCC Coordinator Megan Van Buskirk said Brainsport is the “perfect” location for the electric vehicle.

“While searching for a new parking spot for the EV (electric vehicle) and its charging station, people kept suggesting Brainsport because of their reputation in the community and their support of sustainable lifestyles,” Van Buskirk said. “We are so excited that we are able to have this vehicle at Brainsport because it’s a perfect location for our members.”

She said most Broadway businesses were not as willing to part with a parking stall.

“Many businesses were quite protective of their limited parking spaces, which is likely a result of Saskatoon’s car culture and our reliance on privately owned vehicles,” she said.

The SCC was founded in 2012 and has a fleet of one gas and five electric vehicles that are used by roughly 90 members. People with memberships can access the shared vehicles anytime at unattended self-service stations, including the one at Brainsport. To offset the power used by the electric vehicles, the SCC partners with the SES Solar Co-operative, which sells electricity to the Saskatoon Light and Power grid. The society buys the power back to use at the parking spots.

For more information on the SCC, visit their website.