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Electric Beats Gas in Every Weather
2012-09-04
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Langley Advance, August 30, 2012

The topic has come up of electric cars – how “unreliable” they are, and how we shouldn’t be subsidizing any programs or incentives for them [Stop free ride for electric vehicles, Aug. 22 Letters, Langley Advance].

Of course, it’s fanning the rhetoric of fear, or “range paranoia,” as it refers to a car’s range, and, of course, whether or not the vehicles can withstand cold weather.

Many of the newer electric vehicles have much better ranges and much more powerful batteries, can generate their own power while in transit, and have fuel gauges that provide one with just as accurate a measure of one’s supply.

They are far less expensive to “fill” than any gas or conventional fuel model, and many are just as expensive or inexpensive as any vehicle one can buy for their home, have ranges that have been clocked as far as 600 kilometres.

In Germany, with an adequate fueling infrastructure in place, more than a million such cars are expected on the road by 2020, and will have eliminated the equivalent of 20 nuclear plants with the use of solar and wind farms that have proven to be effective and cheaper, as well as more environmentally friendly.

The whole point of the B.C. government’s “electric incentives” is to push past the unrealistic paranoia of electric-car fence-sitters and get people to understand that the general ranges of current electric vehicles easily meet the daily driving ranges of most people in B.C., other than long-distance drivers.

Most people don’t drive more than 100 km a day. Cars available commercially have triple that rate, and the power capabilities keep improving.

And they’re proven just as functional as gas in cold weather. They don’t require fuel-eating idling time to warm up, and the last time I checked, if you didn’t remember to plug in your block/battery heater for any fossil-fuel engine, your car will be a frozen block of ice.

There’s less work to keep an electric moving in cold weather than gas. Come to think of it, you no longer have to fret over having enough gas in the morning to make it to work, if you include warming-time, because with an electric car, your refueling station is right where you live. And the potential of electric is being realized, workplaces are providing plug-in charging.

Why, as your windows defrost with an electric, you can leave your “fuel line” plugged in and not lose any charge. Not so much with a gas car, unless you’ve got a siphon hose attached to a gas can.

It’s also worth mentioning that B.C. has been importing less electricity per year for nearly a decade, and the plan is to be completely independent of electrical imports in a few decades. As of right now, Canada as a whole does not refine much in the way of its own oil or bitumen. The number of refineries has been reduced from 40 to 19 since the 1970s, and even those aren’t working to capacity.

We are raw exporters, not refiners, because a refinery costs more than seven billion dollars to build.

So we import most of our products, but it’s taxed far higher than any subsidies for electric cars.

Perhaps we can be afraid of the future, and stay stuck in the last century, but we will be missing out as the rest of the world changes, and literally missing the Third Industrial Wave, as we head towards a future that will ultimately stop it’s addiction to oil, which has far more safety issues to transport than electric has.

The electric utility infrastructure does need upgrading. We will always need power for our homes, and money would be far better spent preparing for the future, instead of relegating ourselves to Second World status because of people afraid to move ahead, out of the last century.

A “solar spill” is generally called a nice day.

Not so much for oil sands bitumen.

Read the article at Langley Advance