From the point of view of an experienced electric vehicle owner, I would like to respond to recent public concerns about electric vehicles.
My partner and I purchased our first fully electric vehicle five years ago in September 2018, and as of January 2022, when we purchased our second fully electric vehicle, we have only owned and operated fully electric vehicles.
When will there be enough viable charging stations available? That is easily answerable—there already are, and the construction of new charging stations comfortably keeps pace with the number of new electric vehicles on the road.
A direct quote from B.C. Hydro in an email I received recently was, “Every month we continue to expand our services. This summer we grew our public EV charging network to 153 ports at 84 sites. Over the next 10 years we're planning to add 3,000 more ports, making EV driving a safe, reliable and convenient choice anywhere in B.C.”
BC Hydro is only one of the many providers of EV charging stations in B.C.
Is long-distance winter driving bone-chilling? EVs can do everything gasoline burning cars do, without fossil fuel. EVs have heated steering wheels, heated seats and space heaters. It is true, one has to be aware of the battery usage for each of these options but both the steering wheel and seat heaters draw very little power, and do not reduce driving range noticeably.
One of our vehicles has a 500-kilometre range. When driving to and from Kelowna in the winter, we have no range concern regardless of which heating option we choose. Our normal long-distance driving routine is to drive for four hours and charge for 30 minutes (usually while enjoying a local coffee shop.)
In winter, it might be 3.5 hours of driving for 30 minutes in the coffee shop, but that seems a small price to pay for avoiding the horrendous consequences of global warming.
Where will qualified workers come from to modify residential wiring for electric vehicle battery chargers and advance our transition to a more electrified society? We primarily charge our vehicles at home using the cable that came with our first EV and a 240w dryer outlet in our garage.
We needed no additional modification for this, but even if we had, it would have been a simple matter for an electrician to install. We also have solar panels on our roof which create enough electricity to power our home and charge both vehicles.
The other value of electric vehicles is that during power outages, the power stored in the vehicle batteries can be used to power the house. I also believe an important part of our transition from fossil fuels to renewables will be to retrain fossil fuel workers to work in renewables, and there should be more than enough workers and jobs for all.
Where will the grid capacity come from and how can we avoid cost overruns for large projects involved in our transition to electric vehicles and a more electrified economy? According to B.C. Hydro, the Site C dam—due to be completed in 2025—will provide 1,100 megawatts of capacity, and produce about 5,100 gigawatt hours of electricity each year. That’s enough energy to power the equivalent of about 450,000 homes per year in B.C.
Yes, the Site C dam is another example of a large project with cost overruns, but it is almost complete and will provide more than enough power for all our EVs.