In this northern Alberta county, the Zamboni has gone electric

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The coolest electric automobile in the County of Grande Prairie’s fleet is … a Zamboni.

The boxy blue and white ice resurfacer, powered by a lithium-ion battery, is protecting the ice easy and quick at the Crosslink County Sportsplex in Clairmont, a hamlet simply north of Grande Prairie.

“The workers are actually having fun with the quieter operation and the zero emissions which can be emitted by the new electric Zamboni,” mentioned Nora-Lee Gilkyson, the county’s assistant supervisor for parks and recreation.

“Typically with these sorts of issues, they’re on a alternative cycle. So the different propane model was scheduled to get replaced.”

Going electric

The battery-powered ice resurfacer is a brand new addition this fall for the County of Grande Prairie, which additionally has an electric John Deere utility automobile in its fleet.

Across the province, a rising variety of municipalities have been flooding their rinks with the Zamboni Electric in a bid to chop emissions and enhance  enviornment air high quality.

Since 2019, the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre — a partnership between Alberta Municipalities, Rural Municipalities of Alberta and the provincial authorities — has allotted $1.25 million to assist municipalities purchase new ice resurfacers.

To buy its electric Zamboni, the County of Grande Prairie acquired a grant from the local weather change motion centre that coated 30 per cent of the $153,750 price.

Other electric automobile grants have been supplied to High Level and Mackenzie County in the north, and to southern communities like Coaldale and Medicine Hat. Once all present tasks are accomplished, 26 battery-powered ice resurfacers will probably be at rinks in 20 counties, cities and cities.

The City of Leduc, south of Edmonton, bought a Zamboni Electric with assist from the funding program in February 2021.

A Zamboni Electric arrived at the Crosslink County Sportsplex in Grande Prairie in September. (Luke ettinger/CBC)

Brandon Weber, amenities supervisor at the Leduc Recreation Centre, drives an electric Zamboni there. He mentioned ice resurfacers and his fellow drivers are integral to the enviornment.

“To be trustworthy with you, they’re the unsung heroes for certain,” Weber mentioned of his colleagues.

The new addition in Leduc is a “smoother rider,” quieter and with much less vibration than a daily model, he mentioned.

The metropolis nonetheless makes use of pure gas-powered ice surfacers to assist easy the rec centre ice surfaces for hockey and determine skaters. Weber mentioned the addition of the electric model helps counteract emissions inside the enviornment.

“I believe it is a profit to not simply the individuals in the arenas however the operators as properly,” he mentioned.

‘For the youngsters’

Using a zero emission ice resurfacer as an alternative of 1 powered by fossil gas improves air high quality inside arenas.

“It’s rather a lot more healthy for the youngsters,” mentioned Bobby Hooper, a Grande Prairie hockey mum or dad with a decade of expertise driving ice resurfacers.

Hooper, who works for the County of Grande Prairie, says the Zamboni Electric is only one means he is seen arenas cut back emissions.

“We did have an electric edger, which made a giant distinction as a result of our [previous] edger actually launched quite a lot of fumes. And if you happen to did not put the exhaust followers on all evening, you’ll nonetheless odor the fumes the subsequent day,” he mentioned.

Two ice resurfacers in an arena garage. One is being recharged because it is electric.
The Crosslink County Sportsplex has battery and gas powered ice resurfacers. (Luke Ettinger/CBC)

Gilkyson mentioned the electric model additionally advantages workers at the sportsplex in Clairmont.

“They’re not having to refuel autos. So it makes it safer. You’re simply plugging it in.”

The zero-emission ice resurfacer is plugged in between floods. According to Gilkyson, every journey onto the ice makes use of about 10 to fifteen per cent of the battery life.

A blue zamboni is plugged into charge
The Zamboni Electric owned by the County of Grande Prairie is recharged between ice floods. (Luke Ettinger/CBC)

The recharge time is usually about 1½ occasions the utilization time, she mentioned. 

“They’re simply in a position to recharge earlier than they must flood once more.”

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