She loves cars and she loves the planet: how this auto mechanic goes green!

Cowichan auto shop is a finalist for ‘Black Tie’ Green Business Award

Elly Ruge has embraced eco-friendly initiatives at Cowichan Auto Repair.

Elly Ruge has embraced eco-friendly initiatives at Cowichan Auto Repair.

When you think of a car shop you may picture grit, grime, and gas-guzzlers. Elly from Cowichan Auto Repair also wants you to think GREEN.

She’s implemented many eco-friendly initiatives over the last few years, and now the auto shop is nominated for a Green Business Award through the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce Black Tie Awards.

“We’re humbled to be a finalist, and thought it would be a good opportunity to share some of the steps we’ve taken,” Elly says. “We know that when it comes to being Green, there’s always more that you can do.”

  • Helping drivers get used to green technologies: Cowichan Auto Repair has a fleet of electric and hybrid vehicles available for drivers curious about the new technology. “We have a Nissan Leaf and a Tesla for courtesy rides, to bring customers to and from the shop. Of course everyone wants to use my Tesla as a loaner, but we have a fleet of Prius hybrids for that!” Elly says. Customers can also try Cowichan Auto Repair’s two electric bikes while their car is in the shop. “They’re really fun bikes, and customers are welcome to take one for a spin around town to see what it’s like.” If you already own an electric or plug-in hybrid, use the Cowichan Auto Repair EV charging stations for a free charge.
  • Carbon-neutral: “We’re Green for the benefit of everyone, and for the planet,” Elly says. The shop purchases carbon offset credits and uses BullFrog Power to remain carbon-neutral. “The nature of our business means we’re using gasoline and hydropower to run our shop. Buying carbon credits is the responsible way for us to mitigate our footprint and keep the planet Green.”
  • Fuel-efficient car maintenance: Cowichan Auto Repair is the only shop on Vancouver Island that offers hybrid battery repairs, which keeps batteries out of the landfill and makes owning a hybrid even easier. They also offer hyper-mile tune-ups and low rolling resistance tires for gas and diesel vehicles, improving fuel efficiency for drivers and reducing carbon emissions for the planet. To encourage better driving habits, customers can have Cowichan Auto Repair install a TrackSafe GPS, which uses motion sensors and better route planning to help drivers burn less fuel.
  • Dry, energy-efficient shop: There are no drains at Cowichan Auto Repair; as a dry shop, all engine oil, coolant and other dirty fluids are collected and taken to the proper recycling plants. “In 2018 we made a few small but significant changes, like upgrading to motion sensor LED lights and switching to an eco-friendly heat pump, which led to a 79 per cent reduction in electricity,” Elly says.

Visit Cowichan Auto Repair at 5275 Trans-Canada Highway/Chaster Road in Duncan to get a closer look at the green fleet, and follow them on Facebook! To make an appointment call 778-422-3100, or visit

Auto Repair and MaintenanceEnvironmentGreen Living

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