UVic EcoCAR 2 and the Fiery Hearts of The BCSEA

Earlier this year, Stefan Kaban, the University of Victoria’s EcoCAR 2 Team Leader, gave a presentation to the British Columbia Sustainable Energy Association in Victoria. The organization assembled an eclectic blend of teachers, activists, enthusiasts and industry professionals sporting incredible passion for the green movement. Luckily it was not very hard to get the group engaged.

Stefan did an excellent job delivering EcoCAR key messaging and layman descriptions of the team’s architecture during the post-presentation Q&A. But apparently he also excels at stoking the inner fires of others—particularly environmental activists.

One of the main arguments made was that UVic is focusing too much on a strategy that marginally improves vehicle energy consumption when society should be focusing on how to not use fuel in the first place, but the fact is, there is no “silver bullet” solution to conserve energy in transportation.  In a city like Victoria many people can get by without ever having to drive if they remain in town. In other parts of Canada, people simply cannot travel without a vehicle and energy demands are naturally higher.

Team Lead Stefan explained that EcoCAR 2 provides several solutions, or at least a more environmentally-conscious methodology of going about life. While there were a few heads shaking and one or two scowls that electrified the room, others seemed thoroughly impressed by UVic’s efforts as students to tackle such a complex and relevant problem.

The moral of this story is that some opposition to any idea is inevitable, even if you’re working hard to help address greenhouse gas emissions in transportation. UVic’s advice to other EcoCAR 2 teams is to know about the issues and be prepared for opposition so they’re not caught off guard. Every team is passionate about EcoCAR but at times it becomes necessary to vocalize why that passion exists.