Toronto Hydro looking for people to drive electric Smart Cars

Toronto Hydro looking for people to drive electric Smart Cars

They’re not exactly in the spirit of Rob Ford’s city, but nobody can deny that Smart Cars are popular in downtown Toronto. The huggable little cars are about to get even more eco-friendly as Toronto Hydro and Mercedes-Benz bring a pilot electric car project to the city. The goal is, in part, to get some hint of whether Toronto’s greybeard of a power grid can handle the demand that electric cars will bring.

According to the Toronto Star:

Toronto Hydro is looking for another 16 volunteers to try driving electrically for the next four years. They’ll even pay for the juice.

The drivers who are selected will have to ante up $545-a-month in leasing fees for an all-electric, two-seat Mercedes-Benz “smart fortwo” car.

They’ll get a charging station installed in their garage, and access to a handful of public charging stations to be installed around the city.

“Filling up” one of these Smarts is going to cost just under $2—but only if the lucky chosen remember to use those off-peak hydro usage times that the province is expanding. The data will certainly be valuable to Toronto Hydro: with the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf and many more electric cars in the pipeline (we’re drooling over the concept of an electric Fit), the company needs to know how the city’s grid will react when everyone starts plugging their cars in at night.

After all, it’s one thing to be green, but nobody—especially the ruling Liberals—wants people to go eco-crazy if it means that the lights go out. August 2003 was fun once, but not for the people running for re-election the following October.

• Wanted: Electric car lovers [Toronto Star]
Dawn of the electric Smart Car era [Toronto Sun]
Toronto Hydro, auto maker to test electric car [Globe and Mail]