February 21st, 2019

The silent revolution is here

By Letter to the Editor on October 10, 2018.

Not everyone is sleeping; an early bird stirs and puts the kettle on – new fuel for a new day.

To improve clarity and save space, websites about electric cars use the following acronyms:

ICE = internal combustion engine (gasoline);

EV = electrical vehicle;

BEV = battery powered EV (all electric vehicle);

PHEV = plug-in hybrid EV (engine + battery);

FCEV = fuel-cell EV.

Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia are far ahead of the other provinces regarding EV sales. Chevrolet Volt (PHEV), Nissan Leaf (BEV), and Tesla Model S (BEV) are the bestsellers. EV sales in Canada doubled between 2014 and 2016. EVs were 0.5 per cent of all new cars sold in Canada in 2016 (11,000 of 1,950,000). However, if EV sales keep increasing by 50 per cent per year, their market share could reach 28 per cent or more over 10 years. The clock is ticking.

Storms, floods, droughts, heatwaves, and wildfires urge buyers to go electric. Some will cling to their pickup trucks, SUVs, and crossovers as long as possible. When gasoline-powered vehicles become less than 50 per cent of vehicles on the road, some oil productions and refineries may become uneconomical and close, making gasoline scarcer and more expensive.

Many well-functioning vehicles may be dumped – just as horse carriages were suddenly replaced by cars, typewriters by word processors, vinyl records by CDs, fax by email, phone by Skype, and film by video and digital. When new and better technology appears, old systems collapse fast.

BEV and PHEV form the bridge between the old and new dispensations, between ICE and FCEV. People will get used to electric cars, and in the meantime the hydrogen infrastructure (for fuel cells and gasoline engines) can be developed. When cars began to multiply in the early 1900s, roads, repair shops, and filling stations soon followed.

When gasoline filling stations add hydrogen to their lineup, BEVs can easily be adjusted to FCEVs by installing a fuel cell in cars to charge the batteries on the go. Then flat batteries won’t let people down halfway to their destination.

The coffee/tea of a new dawn is brewing; everyone will soon sip their first cup.

Jacob Van Zyl


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5 Responses to “The silent revolution is here”

  1. Dennis Bremner says:

    EVs create their own issues and of course ignored by the treehuggers at large. I do not dispute that they will be better for the planet then gas driven but this impression of zero emissions is a marketing ploy. The cars still need plastics, metal and rubber all producing their own GHGs. The batteries are created through mining lithium and graphite, copper and lead. Their lifecycle north of the 49th is also questionable because “us canucks need to use our car heaters when stuck in traffic”. There is also the perception, that like in Europe EV’s can be the answer. You can cross 3 countries in Europe before crossing one province in Canada, so distance is an issue here where its really not, in Europe. Alternative modes of transportation like high speed trains (HST) compensate for those long distances. You will likely not see a HST in Canada because when travelling at 300kph, snow banks hurt.
    The revolution you speak of will always remain intercity in Canada because the build out to have quick charging from coast to coast to coast will take us well beyond any of the IPCC warnings.
    So whats realistic? Thats the issue now, we have 2 of 3 parties that believe all they really can do is Tax, that’s the total and complete extent of their knowledge base, which collectively is embarrassing, but individually it demonstrates just how many boneheads are in both parties. That’s not to say party number 3 is not just as stupid but they have not publicly demonstrated that stupidity yet.

    In your example of the new dawn you mention Nissan Leaf and Tesla S one is cheap enough that people living up North could afford one but the infrastructure will be 50 years in the making. Which means you doom northerners to exceedingly high prices in your description of Nirvana. The other vehicle is too expensive for about 50% of the population. The rather amusing thing is we have not even discussed the Grid. Most Grids in Canada would not accept the load that you speak of and brown and black outs during very hot or cold days would become a regular occurrence. Hydrogen will be confined to cities and the infrastructure to go elsewhere is worse than electrical chargers.

    Because we do not intend on shooting all the pigs and cows on the planet to get rid of 18% of CO2, ( http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2006/1000448/index.html) which is more than cars/trucks/buses contribute, we should be spending money on the grid, the grid infrastructure and the energy producing mechanisms.

    Too show you how clueless Climate Barbie Mckenna is, she is trying to market mass transit/subway builds as “fighting climate change” and “the Liberals having a plan”! So while other parties in the past have built mass transit, only Climate Barbies and Mr Dressup’s Mass Transit is a Climate Plan. Who hires these goofballs? Not me!
    So a Carbon Tax is just a way for Notley/Phillips or Mr Dressup/Climate Barbie to make it look like they have a clue, but I can assure you they do not. If they truly had a clue they would be pumping mega millions into grid upgrades now, and either Molten Salt Reactor or Pebble Bed site licensing…NOW! Why now? Ever hear of the Trans Mountain pipeline?
    Because without 4th Gen Nuclear , the new dawn you describe, will arrive 10 minutes after the planet dies.

  2. biff says:

    the letter is hopeful, and has merit. while db is correct that zero emissions seem to be a long way off, and that we may prove too late to save ourselves from climate related misery, we need to start making big changes in our approach to life/the planet. i wish i could agree that nuclear is our answer, but i feel we will trade one set of killer issues for another.

  3. Dennis Bremner says:

    Even if you perceive that Nuclear is not the answer, then you immediately compound the problem. Wind stalls at dusk, generally, sun goes down and batteries cannot sustain an Alberta full of electric cars plugged in overnight with our Grid. So again, its either we tap dance around the issue like the NDP and Liberals, or solve the problem, or pontificate on how everyone on the planet has to change….which is the same tap dance the two parties are doing

  4. Steve Bottrell says:

    We need a radical change to both our socioeconomic system and our infrastructure. If we keep doing what we are doing now, our children will inherit a nightmare. The market/monetary system needs to be removed, and our cities need to be designed in such a way as to eliminate the use of the automobile for the large part. We will not solve this problem using the same thinking that got us here.

    • Dennis Bremner says:

      It really is “build it and they will come” and not “tax it and they will stop using it”. To change people you have to offer a viable solution to the problem. The Alberta NDP aren’t able to do that, why? No idea, must be part of socialist thinking!
      So, if you provide non polluting stationary power to a strong healthy grid, then their is no need to keep jacking up peoples electrical rates to a point where, as in Ontario, families cannot afford more electricity. The excuse that the reduction in gas usage compensates the extra cost of electricity. That’s logic not reality. The reality is if you own a 3 bedroom bungalow you can get bills of $500+ per month for electricity in Ontario for 30 days use.
      So consider this. Had we taken the money we have pissed away on windmills and started site approvals/hearings etc for 4th Gen, Alberta would be far ahead of the GHG curve than ANY other province.
      So, you go to Sheerness Coal Gen Plant and you get the site approved for 4th Gen. Then when the 4th Gen is ready to come on line you shut the coal plant down and the workers at the coal plant become trained Nuke plant workers. The grid connection is already there, throw the switch and you replace old with new.

      What you don’t do is what McGuinty did in Ontario which was shut down coal plants and driving up electrical costs because you have to buy your energy elsewhere. Ontario will never recover, they have screwed things up so badly there is no recovery for them.

      So you build the infrastructure that supports the new technology first. Once that is done you have ample electricity to then create people mover support. 4th gen can be scaled from mini size 10-20megawatts to gigawatts. There is a Canadian company pursuing literally 40 foot containers that will be delivered to indigenous communities and plugged in. Suddenly the 100s of thousands of barrels to run generators disappear.

      There are lots of things that should be done before a non-thinking NDP think, gee the only I can think of is a Tax! So many ideas, in fact, I really think their climate friendly gov bullshit is too hard for anyone to swallow that actually thinks about it.
      Think about this….You Tax polluters so you can write a cheque to the rest of us who lose that money because everyone including the Gasoline/NG polluters/suppliers jack their prices to cover the Carbon Tax??? See any deterrent there other than an imaginary one created by the same NDP that introduced it?

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