The Rise Of Electric Vehicles

Cutting Carbon With Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles (EVs) represent one of the most promising developments in the automobile industry in recent times. EVs have captured the imagination of car lovers around the world, with brands such as Tesla becoming household names. Their unique promise of cutting emissions while providing a smooth, noiseless drive, has driven interest among vehicle lovers and sustainability advocates alike.

In this article:

How Popular Are Electric Vehicles?

Rapidly increasing adoption of EVs has meant that EVs accounted for almost 3% of new vehicle sales in Canada in 2019. Globally, there were 5 million EVs on the road in 2018, and this number is expected to reach 130 million units by 2030, according to a report by Capgemini Research Institute.

The implications for reducing the carbon footprint of an industry that plays a major role in emissions globally and in Canada, are considerable. As we’ve detailed earlier, the transportation sector accounts for a massive chunk (25%) of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. EVs can ameliorate this by reducing the operating as well as lifetime carbon footprint for vehicles, depending on the electricity source.

Pros And Cons Of Electric Vehicles

For vehicle designers, EV architecture offers much greater flexibility than internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. For vehicle owners, some of the advantages EVs offer are:

  • Minimizing their environmental impact

  • Enjoying a quieter ride

  • Driving a vehicle with fewer moving parts and potential causes of failure

  • Dealing with fewer repair and maintenance needs

The buzz around EVs has ample justification, both for their virtues as vehicles and as a measure to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. However, enthusiasm for EVs is tempered by certain challenges that consumers still face:

  • While the range offered by EVs on a single charge has increased from the earlier iterations, this is still a concern for long-distance travel

  • The battery of an EV can take hours to charge, compared to the few minutes it takes for a gasoline refill

  • Charging infrastructure can vary from place to place, which contributes to EV owners’ anxiety over long drives

  • The relative scarcity of technicians for repairing and maintaining EVs

  • They are still relatively expensive

Pros And Cons Of Electric Vehicles

Challenges On The Road To Electric Vehicle Adoption

On the sustainability side, while EVs produce no tailpipe emissions, they still contribute to material emissions. This will have to be an area of focus if the industry is to be completely decarbonized. EVs need to be powered by a heavy, high voltage battery, which increases their weight while accounting for a significant chunk of the steep cost. Check out our guide on keeping your battery in top shape here.

To make EVs a more convenient and viable option for travel over a range of distances, a network of fast charging stations will need to be established nationwide. These can recharge an EV in less than an hour, drastically mitigating the concern many have over the long wait time to get an electric vehicle ready for a full-range trip.

What Has The Canadian Government Been Doing To Promote Electric Vehicles?

The Canadian government, in a demonstration of its seriousness towards reducing the automotive sector’s carbon footprint, has set a mandatory target for all new light-duty vehicles and passenger trucks sold to be zero-emission by 2035. To this end, it has rolled out a $280 million Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP) to improve the availability of charging and refuelling stations for zero emission vehicles. This is expected to increase Canadians’ willingness to choose EVs.

While there are numerous challenges still ahead before EVs overtake their internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts, the numerous advantages they offer to vehicle owners and the environment should make them ubiquitous before long.

Amy Hood
Sustainable Mobility Expert
A passionate automotive enthusiast who happens to care about the future of the planet, Amy brings valuable insights to all environmentally responsible vehicle owners.