Going Electric – Charging Into the Future

How many times have you spotted a Tesla on the road? Ever wondered why you have noticed a lot more electric vehicles on the streets and on social media? Hint: It’s not just for the memes.

The latest trend in the automotive industry has seen a gradual shift away from the traditional internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) and towards battery electric vehicles (BEVs). The rise of electric vehicles provides a sustainable alternative within the largely combustion engine-dominated market. Why, you ask? There is a reason behind the rise in popularity of electric vehicles (it’s not just because of Elon Musk!). With an increasing demand for natural resources, despite their limited supply, our society has seen the emergence of a more affordable and sustainable means of transportation through battery-powered electric vehicles. Fortunately, the goal is to reduce carbon emissions using a renewable energy source.

Why Would You Go Electric?

There are plenty of incentives to go electric when deciding to purchase a new vehicle. When thinking about a sustainable method of transportation, it is important to realize that 30% of greenhouse gas emissions in Edmonton are from transportation. On the contrary, battery electric vehicles can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 41% when compared to internal combustion engine vehicles. Greenhouse gas emissions play a pivotal role in climate change, which was certainly evident last summer; we here in Western Canada recorded extreme temperatures featuring severe heatwaves and forest fires. Taking into account these numbers, it is clear that electric vehicles can have a tremendous impact on the environment.

With increasing research and technological advancements in the electric market, the trickle-down effect has never been so evident. For example, as of late, electric scooters have been implementing regenerative braking systems that were inspired by electric vehicles. This is a major improvement in eScooters, and provides another sustainable alternative for transportation within cities. Innovations such as regenerative braking systems are just one of many examples to emphasize the influence of electric vehicles within the industry. Additionally, electric vehicles can significantly cut back on maintenance costs compared to conventional combustion vehicles, as there are fewer moving parts. This means that there is less room for failure; errors that could occur compared to a traditional combustion engine vehicle are decreased.

A Lack of Affordability

Despite these benefits, it is also important to acknowledge the elephant in the room. Electric vehicles are expensive, and are not a part of most university students’ budgets – and for that matter, the wallets of the greater general public. This may be the predominant reason why people feel discouraged when provided an opportunity to go electric. However, the Canadian federal government has taken an interest in the electric trend and announced the “Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles Program (iZEV)” to encourage Canadians to convert to electric vehicles. The iZEV program offers incentives up to $5,000 depending on various factors, such as model price, size of the vehicle, and size of electric batteries. You are eligible for this incentive if you purchase or lease an iZEV approved zero-emission vehicle for a minimum of 12 months. As of this time, there is no provincial incentive program for electric cars in Alberta. There is no doubt that electric vehicles are expensive, but the emergence of various electric models and fierce competition in the market will eventually reduce the costs to an affordable range that can be competitive in the automotive industry.

Busting the Myths

There are several common myths that are the result of misconceptions about electric vehicles. The most common myth is the fear that electric cars will not start in the winter due to extreme temperatures. However, the newer electric models include an active thermal management system that keeps the battery warm enough to function properly. Combining this system with the resistance heating that is a part of such vehicles, your electric vehicle will be warm and ready despite harsh Canadian winters.


Another myth is that electric vehicles cannot provide enough range for those that require extended periods of long-distance driving. However, that is simply not the case. At full charge, common electric vehicles will have an approximate range of 300-500 kilometers available. Furthermore, there are over 60 charging stations available in Edmonton alone, in the case charging at home or work was not sufficient. Examples include Encor by EPCOR-sponsored charging stations and ATCO charging ports that are available on the streets. For long-distance travelers, electric charging stations can be found along the major highways, particularly the Trans-Canada Highway, located within cities nearby. As of present, Natural Resources Canada has confirmed the availability of over 6,000 electric vehicle charging stations nationwide to accommodate various lengths of travel.

In Conclusion

It is increasingly evident that electric vehicles are the future of transportation. As awareness and research initiatives increase, encouragement for the advancement of sustainable alternatives that can be implemented to further reduce our ecological footprint and preserve our desperately declining natural resources will be insurmountable.

Written by: Woojin Houser

Sources

EV Incentives

https://tc.canada.ca/en/road-transportation/innovative-technologies/zero-emission-vehicles/list-eligible-vehicles-under-izev-program

https://www.adlittle.com/en/insights/viewpoints/battery-electric-vehicles-vs-internal-combustion-engine-vehicles

https://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/environmental_stewardship/electric-vehicles

https://tc.canada.ca/en/road-transportation/innovative-technologies/zero-emission-vehicles

https://afdc.energy.gov/fuels/electricity_benefits.html

https://www.nrdc.org/stories/greenhouse-effect-101

https://www.energyhub.org/ev-map-canada/

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