Rosemary Ganley The Peterborough Examiner October 14, 2021
I am most assuredly not an early adopter. In spite of what seems my life of adventure, I am cautious about newfangled things. I don’t even have a smart TV, which means I can’t laugh at Ted Lasso, much as I love the premise of that show.
I can’t easily grasp simple scientific principles and my spatial competence is flawed. I can’t accept that this weakness is a gendered thing, but I certainly do need a handyman in my life.
Tiny print directions in three languages are beyond me. “Show, don’t tell” was a teaching principle I adopted enthusiastically. But in person, please, not via YouTube. This very morning, I stopped by the credit union to have Heather teach me how to photograph a cheque (the front AND the back?) for deposit. Anything to save gas running downtown.
And always take notes with new learning. Let me write down what you are doing when you put together those earphones or that fan or television. I once was relieved when my car person said, “Don’t even open the hood if you have a problem. These things are so computerized you’ll need service from one of us.”
Don’t even open the hood? Whatever has happened to the image of the friendly fellow who stopped by the roadside when your car gave up, and said, “Open’er up, and I’ll look and git you on your way.”
Change a tire? Are you kidding? Change a battery or a light bulb, maybe.
So with this frame of mind, I listened to electric car expert Robert Lockhart recently on Zoom, speaking to the monthly meeting of For Our Grandchildren.
He is one of those worthy citizens who sets about to learn valuable things and then offers to share his knowledge for free with others.
Here’s the lowdown as I understand it. Thirty percent of our greenhouse gas emissions in this city come from transportation by gas vehicles.
So, mighty efforts have been made in recent years to do something about that. One development is the hybrid engine (both gas and electric). You can switch back and forth. My next-door neighbour has one. Even better, the all-electric car has come along. There are now 200,000 EVs in Canada, and seven million cross the world. An astonishing prediction is that by 2030 there will be 140 million.
Almost five percent of cars in Canada are now EVs. The motivation for the buyers is threefold: rebates available if you buy, the rising cost of fuel and the healthy desire to live greener.
Actually, the very first autos were electric. Then in 1910, Henry Ford and the oil industry promoted the gas engine. Climate-wise, the story got bleaker.
In Ontario today, you can choose from 78 different models and makes of electric vehicles. Their range without recharging is improving. Most have a 350-km range. Batteries are getting lighter and cheaper, and the network of charging stations is widening.
EVs have fewer moving parts and their construction takes one-third less labour. Hence, says Lockhart, costs will come down. At the moment, demand is exceeding supply.
There are 6,000 charging stations in Canada and each can charge 2 EVs, but only 2300 of these are “fast chargers,” taking only 45 minutes. Most stations are controlled by Tesla. Fleets of vehicles will adopt these first: for example, delivery companies, taxi fleets, school buses and rental vehicles.
I retain a bit of skepticism, as do others, on the basis of two factors: cost is one. Who but the-well-to-do has $25,000 for a car? Are there any used? The other factor is the very newness of EVs: the novelty, the consumption of more resources. Will we be using what we already have until it has become really junk? Is this a green consciousness? The people on the zoom call placed all these varying points before the forum, and lively discussion followed. One can’t do better than join 4RG, for free, and feel empowered.
"Gleanings" is Rosemary Ganley's new book. You can purchase directly from the author at email@example.com or from >Amazon<