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2 entries from February 2020

Part 1: Clearing the Air on EVs – Q&A with Pat Lazenby

Back in December we asked about purchasing an electric vehicle and what would be your biggest barrier. Here’s what you said.

Barriers to Adopting an Electric Vehicle

To see how common these issues are, we consulted with Pat Lazenby, the Project Manager at Suncor and person in charge of building Canada’s Electric Highway.

Petro-Canada EV

Q. So, Pat, what do you think about the above?

A. These are definitely some of the issues regarding EVs that I hear about most frequently. Let’s take them in order:

First – that EVs cost significantly more than “regular” vehicles. While it is true that the purchase price is typically higher, overall operating costs can be significantly lower due to the reduced maintenance requirements and the cost of charging versus fuelling.  

Next – the driving range of EVs. Some of the earlier models of full electric and plug-in hybrids had a limited driving range but the reality is that many of the battery electric vehicles made today have ranges between 300 and 500Kms on a full charge, and this is improving every year.

And make sure you’re looking at up-to-date charging station infrastructure in your driving area so you can map out your route.

Finally – the environmental impact of EVs. The reality is that the manufacturing process for EVs creates more emissions and a greater carbon footprint compared to internal combustion vehicles (gasoline and diesel powered cars). This is based on the mining intensity and process for making the lithium batteries.

Where things improve for the environment is during the operating or driving of the EV where carbon emissions drop significantly. Since there are no emissions during the driving of the EV, this results in EVs having lower overall emissions over the life span of the vehicle.

Q. How has EV technology improved?

A. There have been many improvements recently in EVs and the most noticeable is improved driving range.

I do think that one step change will be in reduced charging times. As battery capacity and technology improves, drivers will experience significantly reduced charging times when they are on the go. This is a key reason why Petro-Canada recently installed DC fast chargers capable of delivering 350kW of power, the highest of any system available in Canada. This will increase the likelihood of charging times getting closer to 10 minutes, down from averages of closer to 30 minutes currently and will help EV drivers move more quickly to what matters most to them.

Thanks, Pat! Next week we’ll post Part 2 of our conversation where Pat discusses what to consider when switching to an EV.

~Braden H.

Join Us in a Random Act of Driving Kindness

The other day I was caught in some downtown traffic on a rare day when we had snow in Vancouver. It was pretty tense and tight and then it got even tenser and tighter when there was an unexpected lane merge. And I was in the wrong lane. My hands gripped the wheel; my shoulders tensed - I hate tight merges. During rush hour. In the snow. 

And then, just as I started to get all worked up, a car in the other lane slowed and the woman driving it made a big sweeping gesture, ushering me into her lane.

Relief washed over me. I smiled, waved a big thank you and pulled into the lane.

That lovely gesture really made my whole afternoon and it got me to thinking how the smallest things can turn a whole day around. Especially when we're driving. Driving can be stressful, even for the most experienced among us. These small kind gestures go a long way towards making the road a friendlier and ultimately safer place.

Commit a Random Act of Driving Kindness

Monday, February 17 is Random Acts of Kindness Day. When we're out on the road on Monday, let's all agree to go the extra mile and be kind when we drive. A while back, we asked our fans over on the Petro-Canada Facebook page to suggest some "Live by the Leaf" courtesy driving tips. Some of them are perfect examples of a random act of driving kindness:

  • In a construction zone, smile and wave at the signal person.
  • Leave a gap, when stopped at a light, for vehicles to enter from the side streets.
  • When the gas station is busy and two of us pull into the pump at the same time, wave and let the other person go first.
  • Give a big "Thank You!" wave when someone lets me into a busy lane.
  • Move over into the empty left lane to make way for cars to merge on the right.
  • Leave the closest parking spots for those with mobility issues or young children.
  • Switch lanes if there is a cyclist traveling ahead. It gives them more room and helps other drivers see them too.
  • When you're leaving a busy parking lot and people are cruising for spots, wave and indicate you're leaving and that your spot will be available.
  • Pay for the coffee order for the car behind you in the drive-thru.

Any of these resonate with you? Even if your "thank you wave" is just extra big, I hope you'll join me in committing a few random acts of driving kindness on Monday. Maybe it will even become a habit!

~Rose R.