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