Posted by: jmtoriel | June 17, 2015

The All-Electric Family

Yes, it’s true. My city — Vancouver — has announced that it will go 100% Renewable by 2050.

Now, our fossil fuelled PM Harper has joined in the G7 chorus (kicking and screaming) in weening ourselves off burning fossils or ‘decarbonizing’ by 2100.

Having just passed the 5k mark on the odometer of the i3 the CO2 calculator on the BMW app indicates a total savings of 795kg of CO2 on a 100% renewable grid. You can’t get those savings changing your lightbulbs.

Our other vehicle is a Motorino e-scooter that is also fully electric and we still love our bikes.

I happily drive by gas stations with a big grin knowing that I am reducing the carbon footprint of my family tremendously. I’ve done the math. It’s quite simple:

Removal of tailpipe = lower emissions and better air quality.

In reports I’ve seen trying to do accurate comparisons, the conclusion is often misleading (and sometimes deceptive). They compare EVs as apples and not oranges (as they should because their efficiency is literally in a different league — the US EPA has calculated a MPG equivelant of 124 combined. they don’t measure the emissions of conventional vehicles effectively because the source is so vast and so globally complex (and there is such lack of transparency from Big Oil) that the best guesses are probably severely low balling the actual amount.

In the context of the Canada and the Tar Sands, the emissions associated with extraction, refining, transportation, storage and leaks/waste along the way to your local gas station are enormous. The waste of subsides from the public purse to support this is even more consequential. As Canadians, our emissions in transportation are dire and given the Harper Gov’ts focus to send it to be consumed south or elsewhere would greater impact our negative impact on Climate Change.

On the other hand, Canada’s electrical energy mix is quite clean and getting cleaner (many thanks to ON, not so much to AB). Here in BC emissions from electricity production are largely associated with our sourcing from Alberta’s grid while dam reservoirs get replenished overnight. BC Hydro states that we have a 95% clean grid.

My kids understand this association (aged 3 and 6) and are huge EVangelists already. They also love the instant torque at acceleration — as do I…

The issues of cost, range and charging speed are getting easier to deal with given battery improvements on all accounts. Despite this they offer enormous hope for reducing carbon emissions, improving local air quality and limiting noise pollution as well as supporting your local utilities over Big Oil.

Electric cars are far from perfect, and there are plenty of valid ways to critique them. But let’s not pretend that a gasoline vehicle can compete with an electric car in terms of carbon emissions. It’s just not a contest. Their efficiency far outweighs any additional emissions from manufacturing. Given my vehicle was produced primarily from wind in Germany (sourced at 100% renewable), even that argument falls flat and is already outdated.

Give an EV the right juice and it crushes internal combustion engines — even hybrids. There will be plenty more all-electric families in BC. The more, the merrier, healthier and quieter!

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