In September 2017, the CACOR-climate group discussed the topic of Electric Vehicles (EV) and how individual members were interested in finding a personal transportation alternate to the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE). This discussion took place via email and was spread over a few days starting on 29 September 2017.
France and England have banned internal combustion engines. Oh, the consequences are still a long way off — ink still fresh, the decrees won’t take effect for 23 years — but, in the few short months since Paris and London started this trend, there’s been an avalanche of anti-ICE (internal combustion engine) legislation: Germany (home to the diesel scandal that empowered these bans) is contemplating similar proscriptions. So is Scotland. Even China, home to roughly 47 per cent of the world’s coal use, wants to at least appear environmentally friendly and is contemplating identical restrictions. No one is talking about such blanket bans in North America yet, but the pendulum has swung and my 40-year-old engineering curriculum reminds that momentum, once initiated, is an energy not easily subdued.
The sheer number of recharging stations required to service 300 million EVs — if, as electric evangelicals protest, the battery-powered car is to completely replace the North American ICE fleet — boggles the mind.
What if there was a way to eliminate three-quarters of the carbon dioxide emitted by the cars we drive without uprooting our current infrastructure? Without having to mortgage our future on infrastructure changes? And, if further incentive is required, what if this cost-effective emissions reduction was accompanied by the same quick, easy refueling we have come to expect from our gasoline-fueled cars?
He makes a good point.
I disagree with the pessimistic tone of the article (was it written by a pro combustion car advocate or just someone who dislikes change?)
– on the point of the lack of charging infrastructure in the US and Canada and the time needed to transform to that from our gas station and distribution system, one only needs a forward looking government and leaders to make it happen – in Paris there are charging stations on every block downtown and has been this way for at least 5 years. Under Mayor Watson’s administration, Ottawa has ONE high speed charging station (next to City Hall for the publicity shot), Thankfully the provincial government is beginning to build a network for its 400 series highways but there are precious few level 3 stations that can charge a car in under 30 minutes (as the special Tesla stations can)
In my view, there are only two things that we as individuals can do to reduce carbon emissions significantly: reduce driving combustion vehicles and reduce heating our homes with carbon products such as natural gas or oil. Replacing carbon emitting cars with EVs is the easiest first step but to do that you need charging stations and lower purchase prices.
it is not surprising to me that France is one of the first to look for a ban on combustion vehicles now that their EV infrastructure is established- and they also have a non carbon electrical power system based on nuclear energy (as we too have in Ontario along with hydro) so that the charging is largely emission free as well as the use of EVs
Only question is how fast can this happen. Putting it off only makes the climate change problem (and local urban air pollution) bigger.
I have driven an EV for 2 years now and we do almost 100% of local driving with it. From Manotick I have driven to locations in Gatineau, the Ashton Pub, Orleans and many points between. I charge it at home when needed (about 3 times a week overnight). The author of the article indicated this was the result of his research as well. Hence, I agree.
The political will to build an adequate network of level 3 charging stations in Ottawa, in Ontario and in Canada is years away. Further, you can’t buy a reasonably priced EV these days in Ottawa or many other parts of Canada (based on emails I have received.) The manufacturers have designs on the drawing boards but have yet to turn on mass production to meet the big demand. So, in the meantime, the needed modernization of the electrical grid to accommodate this expected demand is advancing at a turtle’s pace, Ontario government people talk about charging station infrastructure with their implementation plans put in slow motion. As you stated, the City of Ottawa has done its part with a single charging station. Yes, there are companies putting in charging stations for their customers and this will likely increase when there are more EVs on the road.
With all this delay happening, I really can’t see anything changing prior to winter and then everything virtually stops. The key is more affordable EVs (endurance about 300 km) on the road with owners creating havoc with demands for governments to act on putting in level 3 charging station networks. Having one here and another over there in some random fashion, as has been the mode to date, is not going to encourage EV ownership. Only the early EV adapters who have alternate gas guzzlers to fill in the longer distance travel needs are such a minority that pleas for charging can be easily politically ignored.
Hence, the transition period will be long and a hybrid gas/EV makes sense as it will still put pressure on governments for charging stations and it will reduce CO2. I am being confronted with a new vehicle to replace the gas guzzler. I can delay for another year in hopes that something happens to break this terrible deadlock but right now buying a hybrid is starting to look like my only option.
In my Microgrid presentation I presented a graph on the Ontario Grid fuel sources where Gas and biofuels are about 10.5% in the fuel mix. I had expected it to be smaller. My presentation can be viewed at View YouTube…
– really enjoyed watching the youtube of your presentation and learned a bunch of new things
Two minor points
1) Although I have the same dilemma as you when it comes to buying a new car, eyeing hybrids because EVs are still too expensive to buy, the fact that hybrids carry an extra engine and weight for that compared to a small combustion car (e.g. Yaris). result is that the hybrid beats the combustion car by a lot (100 mpg vs 25-30) in start and stop low speed driving in the city but the reverse is true when you go long distances at highway speed(hybrids have 10-20% higher consumption than single engine combustion cars that I’ve looked at). So, the preferred choice depends on how much city and how much country. Your point about much fewer moving parts is also a significant consideration
2) The unpredictability of solar energy input. I have seen meteorological studies which examined the role of forecasting hour by hour cloudiness and solar energy inputs on a large scale- and also wind speed and wind power. When combined with energy management centres on a continental scale it becomes more manageable – not at the microgrid scale but when looked at on a scale where renewable energy is transmitted from low energy areas to high- this is of course all off in the future as a practical thing but worthwhile keeping in mind
Your point on the wind or solar is productive “somewhere in the continent” is certainly valid. The issue is moving it from supply site to demand site. This very issue is what is behind trying to link the three continental grids in North West Texas. Stability of any of them is a constant concern and they all have ways of doing this but connecting them via an AC link would compound the stability issue to an unacceptable level. Hence, the decision is to go with DC links and even build DC tower links that penetrate deep into the heart of each of the three grids. Multi-billion dollar modernization for sure but it will become the new DC network that the rest of the modernization plans will build around.
I will keep watching for news on this DC network as I believe it has not received full funding yet. However, when done it will give wind and solar long reaches into markets traditionally serviced by coal fired power plants. This will seal the coffin for coal (if it is not already dead) and the political implications of this in the Trump Whitehouse would be difficult.
Bill, a snippet of information from our experience:
We purchased one of the first Toyota Camry hybrids imported into Canada and thoroughly enjoyed it for seven years.
The NRCan fuel consumption of this vehicle was posted at 5.7 L/100 km, both highway and urban cycles. This car actually delivered this consumption both when it was new and when it was seven years old.
Despite the weight of the batteries and the electric motor, the consumption on the highway was better than the conventional Camry model. For two main reasons:
- at all speeds, a hybrid system selects the most efficient rate of revolution of the internal combustion engine that will deliver approximately the power needed to move the vehicle, and, depending on the energy stored in the battery at any given moment, will either produce more than is actually needed and store the surplus in the battery or produce less than is needed and draw on the battery;
- the underside of the hybrid Camry model was streamlined to reduce wind resistance, which, as you know varies to a first approximation with the square of the velocity, and which becomes the dominant force at highway speed, certainly at the de facto speed limit of 115 km/h on the highways that we drive from time to time.
We were able to drive the 800 km from Blackburn Hamlet to visit family in New Brunswick without filling up on the way. We then had the option of filling up in Maine by crossing the St. John River and, under the terms of the UNFCC, charge our emission of CO2 to the United States! There is also a moral dilemma here, of course: how to balance duty to family with emission of CO2.
Thanks for that John
– I will take a second look at the hybrids (Prius V is the one I’m looking at the most because it has the headroom needed and long distance comfort).
I am looking as well, but I want a very small vehicle.
Thanks for all the posts about EV vehicles. I find them inspiring and helpful.
In my own case, I would have liked to purchase an EV but finances would not allow it at the time. My decision was to retire my gas vehicle and move from a rural town (Perth) to a city (Ottawa) with mass transit. I have freedom of movement with my senior’s bus pass.
As for EV charging stations, I think back to the introduction of gas vehicles at the turn of the last century. Initially, gas stations were few and far between. It took generations to establish a continent-wide network of pipelines and gas stations. Yet, people complain there are no EV charging stations – well, wait a generation for a continental network to be built.
Everybody is so impatient these days. This is reflected in the criticism of relief efforts to Puerto Rico. A massive deployment is in progress but people want it all to happen now, never mind the logistical challenges. Never mind the fact that Puerto Rico was essentially bankrupt before the hurricane and that its infrastructure was neglected for generations as greed and corruption spread widely.
Today’s society needs a massive epidemic of common sense.
Thanks for the “heads up” as I have the same problem finding a car I can fit in! Also thanks for the trip report which was very encouraging.
Here is a table I found useful. The one for hybrids is on the same site
One more relevant article about EVs. Does Driving Range of Electric Vehicles Influence Electric Vehicle Adoption?
Surprising key quote “relationship between recharging infrastructure—an important factor for electric vehicle adoption in many studies—and market share of electric vehicles turned out to be insignificant in this study.”
Much more important than charging infrastructure were driving range and price which makes me wonder how knowledgeable were those that responded.