Some news about the new Vernon Innovation Center

Some news about the new Innovation Center in Vernon, BC.

First: the project is going forward! It’s going to be downtown, in the old Naked Pig space

I’ve seen the plans, and they look really neat. This will be a high-visibility touchstone for the tech community here. đź‘Ť

The new Innovation Center will be in the old Naked Pig on main street!

I was on the steering committee for the Innovation Center. As I understand it, the purpose of the centre is to support the growing tech community in Vernon.

The project has two main pillars:

  • the building itself (meeting space, hot desks, team offices, lounge)
  • the program coordinator

The need for a Community Lead

In our committee meetings, I emphasized the need for a strong program coordinator. I’ve seen, first-hand, how skilled community leaders can meaningfully set the tone for a community.

For example, Dr Lincoln Smith leads the Kamloops Innovation Center. Over his tenure, he’s created a really incredible environment for the tech folks there. He recognized early on that it’s the people that matter most; programs need to match the culture they serve. What works in Kelowna likely won’t work in Vernon, Salmon Arm, or Kamloops.

Dr. Lincoln is an example of the kind of community leader we need here in Vernon

We need our own “Dr Lincoln” here in Vernon! Somebody who can:

  • meet locals where they’re at and respond with training, events, and mentorship that fit our community,
  • relate to the unique demographics here in Vernon (we have lots of folks in their 40s, who have kids and a mortgage, but also a growing number of younger couples who are moving here for the lifestyle),
  • act as the social glue between the different individuals, companies, and resources here in town,
  • welcome out-of-town visitors who are considering a move to Vernon.
Tech scene in Vernon, BC North Okanagan
Vernon needs a Community Lead

The job posting for this position has just gone live:

If you’re someone who has the desire + skills to contribute to our tech community in Vernon, I think you should apply!  (Or, if you know someone, please encourage them to apply!)

This position is crucial for setting the tone of this new initiative. Let’s find someone great!

(Here’s a brief history of the tech community in Vernon)

Justin Jackson
On behalf of Startup Vernon + Geek Beers


Teslas (and electric cars) in Vernon, BC

There are more electric vehicles in Vernon than you might have thought!

Tons of folks came to check out Teslas, Leafs, Bolts, and other cars at the EV show on May 24.

Francois (from the @teslainvernon Twitter account) has some great insights about owning an electric vehicle.

How much CO2 do you produce when you charge your Tesla?

British Columbians have some of the cleanest energy in North America. The BC Hydro grid emits only 11 grams of CO2 per kWh of electricity. That means that driving a Tesla model 3 results in 1.65 grams of CO2 per KM. (Source)

Is there good charging infrastructure for EVs in Vernon?

There’s a high-speed DC charger (Chademo & CCS) behind the old Greyhound station and there are two Level 2 chargers at City Hall parking lot. Okanagan College also has some chargers.

A few local hotels and car dealerships also have chargers.

Charging is free at the fast DC charger in Vernon as well as at City Hall.

But, charging at home is the easiest. I charge at home except when on a road trip. Charging at home is so cheap that it doesn’t matter. I spend more $$ on Tim Horton’s coffee than I do filling up my car.

Kelowna has a bunch of chargers. A bunch more are getting installed at the airport and should be ready soon.

PlugShare is the defacto app for finding chargers:

How much does it cost to charge electric cars?

For the Nissan Leaf, with a 24 kWh battery right and 0.0945 cents per kWH that works out to $2.27.

My Long Range model 3 has a 75 kWh battery, so if completely empty it would 75*0.0945 = $7.09.

Have you ever run out of battery?

Closest I’ve come is a 3% charge. I pushed it when coming back from Vancouver once. The computer predicted I would get home with 3% left and I was curious how good that prediction would be.

That was on a really cold day. It was -28 C at the top of the connector.

I had lots of charge when I was up at the top of the connector, so when it was getting below 10% I was already down in an area that was safe.

But in general I wouldn’t do that again, I would just stop at the Kelowna supercharger for 10 minutes and arrive home with 30 or 40%.

It definitely sucks if a charger is out of order.

That’s why for road trips, Tesla is really the best game in town (for now) because they always have multiple bays. Very unlikely that all bays would be out of order.

In the Tesla Model 3, one 15 minute top-up in Hope is all that’s needed when I drive to Vancouver. (Which is the same amount of time I used to spend with my gas car).

What’s the sweet spot for highway speed vs. range on the Tesla?

110 KM/hr gives you full range (ie 500 KM). At 80 – 90 KM/hr I could squeeze out between 600 and 700 km/hr.

How fast do the batteries decay?

I spoke to Current Taxi a few months ago. They put on something like 270,000 KM on their Telsa Model S and use Superchargers every day with almost no battery degradation.

No one knows how long they will ultimately last. Lots of them with over 500,000 KM now. (Good site tracking this here)

For a while, I was on the Model 3 portion of that leaderboard but I just got blown off of it. But you can see that there are many Model S & X with some very high mileage on them.

Which isn’t to say that problems never arise. I’ve seen the odd owner who had a battery replaced under warranty on a Tesla and on a Leaf. They both offer 8-year battery warranties.

What kind of government grants can I get for electric cars?

Check out this Google Sheet. It has the prices in BC for a few popular EVs.


AVS, tech company in Vernon, BC acquired for $45 million

AVS Systems Inc, of Vernon, BC, has just been acquired for $45 million by Information Services Corp (a publicly traded company, based in Saskatchewan).

The deal $45 million in total. $25 million up-front with a possible $20 million earn out over the next 13 months.

AVS has been operating since 2002, and has built software that allows users to do searches on PPSA, land title, registries, and corporate records.

(Press release)