Vancouver recently had the chance to experience what it was like to live in a smoke filled city, as the fires in B.C.’s interiors continue to burn and force evacuations. There were air quality and health warnings, the skies were always hazy, the sunsets were red, and it was somewhat reminiscent of large cities in Asia. Even before the fires, the increase in pollution from the addition of thousands of cars each year in Vancouver, and building developments had increased the amount of hazier days, especially during the Summer time. However, the real reason why Canada will be following Europe to silently remove petrol cars off the streets and replace them with electric cars will come from many fronts.
The rise in property prices, especially in and near downtown will lead to the elimination of many gas stations. What once was electric car anxiety will soon become gasoline anxiety as people struggle to find gas stations and find easier access to electric charging stations which have in only a few years taken over many dense areas of the city. Driving from Vancouver to Seattle or even Kelowna is possible with small amounts of planning. Although there are many free charging stations, some of the non-free ones will still make people uncomfortable because they require membership fees or more.
The incentives to buy an electric car from a dealership is appealing. With $5000 instant incentives, dealership incentives from $250 to $1000 and up to $6000 for scrapping a clunker to free HOV lane access (with application). These and of course the free charging stations will save family hundreds a month if not thousands. Electric cars will soon enter the lower mid-range price bracket and compete well against economical size cars and hybrids. Younger generations will appreciate how much more similar these cars are to their smart phones than traditional cars. Most electric cars are the first to adopt driverless functions in a bid to increase safety and convenience. In turn, with help from youth, the older generation will also begin to adopt these vehicles that may seem alien to them. Many of the cars now support phone applications to turn them on and pre-heat or pre-cool the interiors, saving you battery for your trip instead.
The fact that our power comes from clean energy and the rise of cheap clean energy, thanks to solar panels, will allow even more savings if not the feeling of actively protecting the environment by reducing your own carbon footprint. The rise of gasoline prices beyond what it was a decade ago or even 2 to 3 decades ago, will help convince many to turn towards a sustainable model of living. Especially, when it has become much more effortless. Those that have had the opportunity to travel understand how smokey, hazy and dusty large cities can get. Many Canadians cities have the benefit of foresight and advance environmental research.
The final change will depend on the government here to reduce electricity prices, reduce insurance prices, increase gas taxes, and increase their desire to support mass transit in population heavy areas. Other bills, may also help industries turn to electric trucks or ships with incentives. Reducing car emissions is small compared to how much is emitted by large vehicles.
In the end, it can be easier to make the switch to an electric mindset in North America, compared to Europe and Asia. Europe although more densely populated making it easier to charge, has to deal with cars that also run on diesel. In Asia, electricity is provided overwhelmingly by coal and unclean energy. Electric cars would only be stressing the grid, and Toyota has addressed this by focusing on hybrid cars and fuel-cell cars instead.
Notable electric cars fill our streets today all around the world from Tesla’s, Nissan Leaf’s, Mitsubishi i-Miev, and dozens of others.