The transport sector is undeniably one of the largest sources of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Do you own an electric vehicle? Would you like to own one? Will you continue to use a traditional, gas-powered vehicle? Or do you choose public transit, walking, or cycling? Answer our survey and tell us your thoughts on the switch to electric.
In Canada, domestic transport-related greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 15 percent over the past decade. In fact, in 2018, the road transportation sector emitted 156 megatonnes of CO2, comprising 84 percent of the country’s transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. Alarmingly, Health Canada estimates that air pollution contributes to 15,300 premature deaths every year.
The negative effects of fossil-fueled cars on both the environment and our health are astronomical. In order to address the pressing issue of climate change and the increased risk of premature mortality, we feel an urgent need to abolish gas-guzzling machines in favour of electric vehicles. Not only do the latter provide significant emission benefits over conventional ones, but they are certainly a feasible endeavor within the capacity of our national energy grid.
With increasing battery lives, reduced costs, and increased efficiency, electric vehicles may very well be an achievable solution. Consider the rechargeable batteries that power our smartphones and laptops. In a similar manner, electric vehicles can be completely powered by electricity because they use motors generated by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Moreover, hybrid electric vehicles also rely on regenerative braking technologies, which will reduce fuel consumption by recapturing energy typically lost during braking. Electric vehicles will not only massively curtail exhaust emissions, but they will also allow for a significant reduction in upstream emissions. Without a need for extracting oil, refining it into fuel, and transporting it to gas stations, in over a year, just one electric car can save an average of 1.5 million grams of CO2.
Although skeptics have proposed that the process of manufacturing batteries contributes to emissions upfront, this stage can be sustainable if done responsibly. Currently, manufacturers such as Tesla are setting new guidelines, requiring the use of renewable energy sources during production such as solar and wind.
Batteries are known to be an expensive component of electric vehicles. However, U.S. data from the Department of Energy declared that the cost of batteries fell by more than half between 2012 and 2016, a reassuring trend. Current batteries are designed for an extended life of eight to 10 years with predictive modelling suggesting a lifespan of up to 12 to 15 years. While the cost of battery replacement is variable — ranging from $2,500 to $20,000 based on a variety of factors, including size of vehicle and materials used — many manufacturers are currently offering extended warranties.
The energy grid is promising in regards to accommodating electric vehicles. According to Natural Resources Canada, there are 6566 charging stations across the country, including 1203 DC fast charging stations, which provide 95 to 130 kilometers of range per 20 minutes of charging time. The Liberal government has further committed, by adding 50,000 new electric vehicle chargers and hydrogen stations to Canada’s network.
Given the environmental advantages, we are accelerating into a new world of electric vehicles — a promising solution to rising emissions.