Electric Cars Are Taking Over

CC BY 2.0. Tesla charger in the woods/ Lloyd Alter

As prices drop and range increases, more and more people are going electric.

I spend my summer working from a water-access cabin in the woods 2.5 hours north of Toronto, and park my boat at a neighbour's dock. I was impressed last weekend to see that he was installing a charger for his new Tesla; everybody who lives up there drives long distances, and it gets really cold in winter, both of which are reasons people use to avoid electric cars. If electric cars are coming to little Dorset, Ontario, then something is happening.

And indeed, Tyler Hamilton writes in the Globe and Mail that Electric vehicles are in the driver’s seat now and the oil industry is running out of fuel. He thinks that the recent attacks on Saudi Arabia will just accelerate the transformation.

When news hit that 18 explosive-rigged drones had knocked out two major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, instantly cutting global oil supply by more than 5 per cent, you can bet electric-car drivers worldwide collectively shrugged. Gasoline prices to shoot up? No problem for vehicles that run on kilowatts.

Hamilton notes that most of the myths about electric cars either were not true or that things have changed and they are no longer true.

It helps that the vehicles destined to consume this electricity are getting better and less expensive. Tired claims that electric vehicles (EVs) take too long to charge, don’t have enough range, or aren’t powerful enough are based on lingering perceptions that don’t reflect the pace of innovation.

Hamilton notes that range remains an issue, but soon won't be a problem. "Within 10 years, it looks quite likely that the average range of EVs will reach about 600 kilometres, matching the average distance gas-fuelled vehicles can go on a full tank."

My late lamented Miata

My late lamented Miata/ Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

For me personally, range was the dealbreaker. It's a 500 km round trip from my home to the parking lot by the lake where I keep the car in the summer, and that is the only time a car is ever important to me; I don't drive in the city. It's the only reason I kept my old Miata as long as I did. But hey, my neighbour already lets me borrow his dock to park my boat; perhaps if I ask nicely he will let me borrow his charger. Otherwise I will wait for a car with the range, but I don't think I will have to wait for ten years; as Hamilton concludes,

...the drone strike in Saudi Arabia merely exposed what we already knew was there – the vulnerable underbelly of a dinosaur industry that, in the age of electric transportation, is looking increasingly like a sitting duck.

Full disclosure: Tyler Hamilton was my editor when I wrote book reviews for Corporate Knights Magazine.