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Electric Vehicles – Costs, Emissions and Much More
Author Jan Mackie
Sunday, Jun 17, 2018
Electric Vehicles – Costs, Emissions and Much More

At BPEG’s May meeting Tim Matheson gave us some facts and insights on electric vehicles, providing information and entertaining us all at once. Tim is the owner of a Chevy Bolt and, as he says, has little or no technical knowledge of the workings of the vehicle but understands well the likely cost savings to his pocketbook and the potential benefits to our environment. 

 

Tim started with a bit of history, reminding us that the idea of electric vehicles has been around a long time, the first electric car being made in 1922. However the battery technology, which had not advanced sufficiently and the (at the time) lower cost of fossil fuels led the auto industry down the path of gas powered vehicles.

 

In answer to the audiences anticipated questions, Tim had prepared a number of very accessible charts comparing the costs of his current vehicle over a ten-year period and the expected costs of his new Bolt over ten years. There is an amazing difference! His current Honda CRV (which is relatively fuel efficient) has required approximately $46,000 – the cost for electricity for the Bolt will be between $5,000 & $11,000 depending on the whether it is charged at high or low peak times. – A side note here – in order for the electrical grid to provide the necessary baseline of energy much electricity goes unused at night, making this an ideal time to recharge your electric car. Due to the low maintenance costs of this type of vehicle there are many other savings – no exhaust system or radiator to maintain or oil changes, less braking costs due to the regenerative powering of the brakes and the fact that the resistance of the engine takes care of much of the braking. When you include the initial cost of the vehicles, which are approximately the same, the total over the 10 years looks like this: Honda CRV $103,949 – Chevy Bolt $52,437. Plus currently there are substantial government incentives depending on the vehicle – for the all-electric Bolt it is up to $14,000.

 

So then what about the space in the vehicle – Tim’s experience is that there is plenty of room for the driver and plenty of storage space as well as passenger seating for three in the back seat.

 

And how far can it go on a full charge? – approximately 300 km, depending of course on how one drives and the weather conditions.

And what is the cost for charging? And where are the charging stations?

Currently there is no cost to charge at a charging station but this will likely change with time. There are 3 types of chargers, each working at a different rate of charging. More and more are appearing in various places – there is one at Walmart in Owen Sound and more can be accessed in a variety of locations. If one has a station in their garage, this can be used at night when electricity is cheapest.

 

And what of the environmental impact? By Tim’s calculations, replacing one gas vehicle with an all-electric one we are saving the carbon equivalent of 40 acres of new forest/year and helping to reduce the amount of CO2 being absorbed by and polluting the oceans.

 

Now, what if all at once every vehicle in North America (300,000,000) were electric – there is the possibility to save the carbon equivalent of 12 TRILLION acres of forest – that’s 10 times the surface area of the continental USA.

 

So now you have more questions about these vehicles – listen to Tim’s talk on the BPEG website www.bpeg.ca and search out information on the internet – we all need to be informed.

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