The Power to Change
—— 2018, Mary Barra, Chair and CEO General Motors
In mid-January, 2020, Tesla Inc. achieved market capitalization of $107 billion, overtaking Volkswagen to become the world’s second most valuable automobile company after Toyota. Now, Tesla’s valuation exceeds that of Ford and GM combined. Tesla’s superlative success has changed the automotive industry forever. Even internal-combustion-powered icons like Mustang, F150, Hummer, XKE… are going electric.
In the true north, the total cost to own many battery-electric vehicles (EVs) is less than similar internal-combustion automobiles, because…
- battery-electric vehicle prices are half of what they were just a few years ago. The prices of most of these high-tech vehicles are comparable to those of the least expensive, gasoline-powered models from Infinity, Audi, Lexus, Volvo… ;
- compared to internal-combustion vehicles, EVs cost less to maintain. The average 4-cylinder, internal-combustion engine has over 130 moving parts to service and replace. Tesla’s Model 3 electric motor, dubbed the “million-mile motor,” has one moving part. A battery-electric vehicle has no filters, oil or transmission fluid to change; no radiator fluid to leak and nothing to tune up;
- the average EV uses about $300 worth of electricity annually. Many Manitobans save two thousand dollars per year or more on fuel, by switching to a battery-electric vehicle.
—— 2017, Government of Manitoba, Made-In-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan
No petroleum products are refined in this province. Every year, Manitobans pay billions of dollars to import gasoline and Diesel fuels, from other provinces and the U.S., to power their vehicles. But, Manitoba is capable of generating more than enough clean electricity to satisfy all of its foreseeable energy needs, including the electrification of every mode of transportation.
—— 2017, Government of Manitoba, Made-In-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan
According to the United Nations, to avoid irreversible climate change, global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions must decline 7.6% per year, starting this year. In fact, emissions are rising, on average, approximately 1.5% per year. In the 2017 Made-In-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan, Premier Pallister declared, “Climate change is real and is already impacting us. It is being accelerated by greenhouse gas emissions… ” The Premier warned, climate change “poses a growing threat to how we live and work.”
Of all GHG sources in Manitoba, transportation emissions are rising fastest. Gasoline and Diesel engines produce 42% of the GHGs emitted here; most are exhausted by cars, SUVs and pickup trucks. Fortunately, this year, 113 battery-electric vehicle models are reaching the world’s markets. Accelerating the transition to these emission-free vehicles is the least expensive way to drastically reduce Manitoba’s GHG emissions.
—-Fast chargers, “the ultimate accelerator for EV ownership.”
—— 2019, Mobility Foresights, market report
Last year, in a Clean Energy Canada poll, 64% of respondents said that EVs should become the majority of consumer vehicles sold. But, to be able to switch to fully-electric vehicles, most drivers need access to fast chargers. Battery-electric vehicles are usually recharged slowly at home, but on long trips they must be recharged quickly. In only eight minutes, a state-of-the-art fast charger can recharge a battery-electric vehicle with enough electricity to drive hundreds of kilometres.
The Government of Canada has been offering Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure grants to help fund wide-spread installation of EV fast chargers. In eight provinces, the provincial government and/or electric utility company have also invested in the expansion of access to fast-chargers, but not in Manitoba or Saskatchewan. Here are the number of communities serviced by universally-accessible fast chargers in each province. (These universally-accessible fast chargers are capable of recharging all makes of EVs.)
17 Nova Scotia;
23 New Brunswick;
6 Prince Edward Island;
300+ Quebec, planning to install 1,600 more;
100+ Ontario, planning to install 160 more;
5 Manitoba, all in the south and all but two are on the Trans-Canada Hwy;
79 British Columbia (In B.C., several locations have multiple fast chargers).
As this map shows fast chargers are open in Brandon, Portage la Prairie and Winnipeg, and are being installed in Selkirk and Steinbach. With an investment of less than $2 million from Manitoba and a federal government grant, the private sector could install fast chargers in these other 29 locations…
Dauphin, Emerson, Eriksdale, Fidlers Corner, Flin Flon, Gimli, Glenboro, Grand Rapids, Killarney, Lac du Bonnet, Melita, Neepawa, Overflowing River, Pilot Mound, Ponton, Prawda, Roblin, Russell, St. Claude, St. Martin Junction, St. Rose du Lac, Scanterbury, Shoal Lake, Sprague, Swan River, The Pas, Thompson, Virden and Winkler.
Access to fast chargers in these strategic locations would connect highway drivers in all regions of Manitoba to the extensive web of fast chargers, which has spread rapidly over much of Canada, the U.S. and parts of Mexico. Like city-dwellers, Manitobans in rural and more remote locations could drive emission-free vehicles, powered entirely by inexpensive, made-in-Manitoba electricity.
—— 2017, Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association report
Would widespread access to fast chargers really accelerate Manitoba’s transition to EVs? Over ten years ago, in Norway, a broad range of incentives, from various levels of government, greatly increased battery-electric vehicle sales – mostly in urban centres. In 2015, Norway started a program to expand its fast-charge network, not only in densely-populated areas, but in more remote regions, too. By 2018, 31.2% of annual new vehicles sales in Norway were battery-electric. By 2019, fast chargers were operating in every region of the country. That year, despite a reduction in incentives, 42.4% of annual new vehicle sales were battery-electric. In the first six months of this year, 48% of all new vehicles sold in Norway were battery-electric. Norway, Europe’s largest petroleum producer, is en route to end the sale of fossil-fuelled automobiles, by 2025.
—— 2017, Christina Bu, CEO, Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association
For many years, the Government of Manitoba has been encouraging investment in the petroleum industry with very generous subsidies through programs such as the Manitoba Drilling Incentive Program. Now, to reduce carbon emissions, the Manitoba Government should invest in the expansion of fast-charging to serve drivers in all regions of this province.
In the Manitoba Hydro 2017/18 & 2018/19 General Rate Application, one of the key reasons given for requesting increases in electricity rates is a “deterioration in expectations for domestic load growth… ” MB Hydro forecasts that’s going to cause a drop in revenues of about $110 million per year, by 2027.
The number of light vehicles (cars, SUVs and pickup trucks) registered in Manitoba is well over 800,000. That number is growing with our population. Because the average age of those vehicles is 12 years, we can expect Manitobans to purchase at least 250,000 new light vehicles by 2027. Given Norway’s success, it’s reasonable to expect that, if drivers had access to fast-charge stations throughout Manitoba, within 7 years at least 120,000 of those new light vehicles would be EVs. In Manitoba, the average electric-powered light vehicle uses about $300 worth of electricity per year. Therefore, by 2027, income from charging those 120,000 battery-electric vehicles would reduce Manitoba Hydro’s projected domestic revenue shortfall by over $36 million annually. Also, by 2027, electric-powered heavy vehicles like buses, garbage trucks, delivery vehicles, transport trucks, farm tractors, mining equipment, construction equipment will be widely available. Income derived from charging those high-mileage electric vehicles would further reduce MB Hydro’s projected domestic revenue shortfall by many tens of millions of dollars per year.
The Manitoba Government Vehicle and Equipment Management Agency manages approximately 2600 vehicles, which emit GHGs by burning tens of millions of litres of fuel per year. Many of those fleet vehicles are driven much farther each year than the average family vehicle. Therefore, by switching to battery-electric vehicles, the fuel savings for these fleet vehicles would be two, three or more times the $2,000 per year saved by many average Manitobans who switch to EVs. Over the lifespan of these EVs, the fuel and maintenance savings would more than equal the purchase prices of these EVs. For instance,
- if a fleet vehicle is driven two and a half times as far each year as many average Manitoba gasoline-powered vehicles, EV fuel savings could be $5,000 per year. Over eight years those fuel savings would add up to $40,000. Additionally, there would be thousands of dollars in savings, due to the battery-electric vehicle’s much lower maintenance costs. The purchase price of a Chevy Bolt EV is $44,998.
In its Climate and Green Plan, the Government of Manitoba declared its intention to “lead by example”. To accomplish this, the Government should mandate that all future purchases or leases of provincial government automobiles be battery-electric vehicles.
—— 2016, International Council on Clean Transportation white paper
In 2017, after warning Manitobans that our greenhouse gas emissions are accelerating the growing threat of climate change, Premier Pallister reassured us, “there is hope… We can gain jobs and economic opportunities by making smart investments in clean technology… “Clearly, the Premier was right; results in Norway prove that partnering with the private sector to extend fast-charging to all regions of Manitoba is the smartest investment our province could make. Investing less than $2 million would enable drivers throughout Manitoba to switch to emission-free, battery-electric vehicles. Facilitating the switch to EVs is the quickest and least expensive way to…
- eliminate millions of tonnes of Manitoba’s annual greenhouse gas emissions;
- grow a reliable, highly-profitable market for Manitoba Hydro electricity; and
- save Manitoba drivers $billions in gasoline and Diesel fuel imports, every year.
Made-in-Manitoba electricity is the power to change. Let’s use it!
ELECTRICITY IS THE POWER TO CHANGE.
Let’s use it!