There's been an interesting discussion going on in the Canadian media this month about the value of electric cars there.

It all started with a column called "Shocking truth of electric cars" that was very critical of plug-in vehicles written by Gwyn Morgan, who questioned whether the vehicles are right for Canada and if they are even green in the first place. Morgan also asks "Will there be enough electricity?" and answers:
Even the staggering electricity rate increases announced by Ontario would not generate nearly enough power to handle a large auto-recharge load, nor could already stretched power grids handle it, either. Hydro-Québec recently said its distribution grid could accommodate a meagre 1,000 car plug-ins.

In other provinces, costly retooling of power generation, mainline transmission and local distribution grids would be required
.
Basically, Morgan is skeptical of cars powered by electrons. And we have a hint why that might be, given that Morgan is the retired, founding CEO of Encana Corp., a natural gas company.

In response, Al Cormier – the president and CEO of Electric Mobility Canada – wrote a post titled "Electric Cars Do Make Sense for Canada" that sees "the road ahead for electric cars is indeed relatively easy in Canada compared to other nations" and goes one to say that low electricity costs, plentiful electric supply and that:
On a national scale, 500,000 electric vehicles would only add a demand increase of two per cent on the grid. And, if these vehicles are charged in off-peak periods, which technology will encourage, the extra supply needed is zero. Market penetrations will be considerably below 500,000 for the first years. It is agreed that a concentration of electric vehicle owners on a street may require upgrades to local transformers, but this is a small, affordable and manageable task.
The question isn't whether or not Canada can handle plug-in vehicles (it can) but why it's taken so long. The picture above shows, according to Toronto History a crowd looking at electric automobile in accident on Glen Road Bridge in 1912.

[Source: | Image: Toronto History – C.C. License 2.0]


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