Benns’ Belief: Time to go electric

By Roderick Benns

Our next car is going to be electric. An EV.

Currently, (pun intended) we’re nursing a petrol-sucking, seven-year-old SUV that has traversed highways and back roads from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to subarctic Yukon. (It’s not petrol-sucking any more than the average gas vehicle; I’m just making the case for going greener.)

Now that the federal government has released its budget, it’s clear there are incentives for auto makers to start building more of them – and fast. Volkswagen predicts all-electric vehicles will make up 70 per cent of total European car sales by 2030. Here in Canada, the best projections are that more than half of all car sales will be fully electric within nine years.

One of the biggest reasons for not going electric has been so-called “range anxiety” — the fear that we won’t be able to make it from one destination to the next without running out of e-juice. Wait … no, that’s a different kind of fear for vapers. I mean battery power.

But range is also getting better. The Hyundai Kona, for example, is the first sub-compact SUV in Canada, and can travel up to 415 kilometres on a single charge. That’s plenty of range for local and regional driving for most people.

It’s a no-brainer that the government must start funding and building more chargers across the country. Lindsay has four stations where you can get a fast charge, and there’s a smattering of other charging stations at businesses across Kawartha Lakes, including at Riverside Inn in Norland. A “level three” charger, like the one at the Lindsay Recreation Centre, can restore an EV to 80 per cent capacity within 30 minutes.

From a personal standpoint, if we’re going to do this, I think we should go all the way — not one of the hybrid vehicles but a full-on, 100 per cent petrol-free experience. At this point, going hybrid seems like putting a toe in the lake when really what the planet needs is for us to take a running leap off the dock.

I’ve heard the arguments against EVs because of the critical metals, such as lithium and cobalt, that need to be mined to produce their batteries. However, both of those metals are fully recyclable and can be used over and over repeatedly. They are also already in demand for phones and laptops.

According to BetterNZ Trust in New Zealand, a gas-powered car is just as likely to be full of most of the same components that require pillaging the earth, from steel, to plastics, circuit boards, carbon fibre, copper and much more.

You may doubt this focus on electric cars, given we live in small towns and are largely rural. But as everyone’s favourite Star Trek villains assert, resistance is futile. The EVs are coming, and with them cleaner air, lower emissions, and quieter vehicles. What’s not to like?

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