There are a lot of questions about electric Vehicles, how they work in Alberta and how viable they are. Here, we would like to address some of he more common questions.
Do Electric Vehicles Work In The Winters Of Alberta?
The simple answer is straight up "Yes".
The longer answer is that electric vehicles do work however there can be a small impact on range depending on temperature. On average this is usually less than a 3% - 5% drop and is also dependent on the use of heaters and fans used to heat the cabin of the vehicle.
Do Electric Vehicles Cost More To Operate?
One of the best reasons for a consumer to look at an EV is that of economics.
Electric vehicles are significantly cheaper to operate in not only fuel consumption but also general maintenance.
A standard internal combustion engine has around 40,000 moving parts in its drive train. These moving parts require maintenance on an ongoing basis with lubrication, tune ups and replacement.
Electric vehicles have around 40 moving parts in the drive train, requiring virtually no maintenance, lubrication or tune ups.
The most expensive maintenance of an EV is tire changes/rotations, windshield washer fluid and car washes.
Why Is Electrical Adoption In Alberta Important?
Electric vehicle (EV) ownership is a very important piece of changing our way of life.
EVs hold the potential of significantly cutting back on our greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE), resolving urban noise pollution, cutting health care costs, creating a stimulation of the economy and even effect change to the Alberta energy portfolio.
Electrical Vehicle Adoption is a key component to fighting climate change on a short term measurable scale and one of the biggest and easiest means of achieving our target goals for greenhouse gas emissions.
Will An Electric Vehicle Work For My Lifestyle?
For roughly 87% of the North American population, electric vehicles are the most practical means of transportation based on the range the vehicle is able to drive, distance required to travel for daily use, cost of operation, fuel consumption and pollution created.
If you bring in Plug In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) to the mix, electric vehicles work for 99.9% of the population.
There are a variety of electric vehicles to choose from offering up everything from commuter vehicles for urban areas to luxury and performance vehicles with distance in mind.
EV's are in forms from bicycles and motorcycles, cars, vans, trucks, through to delivery trucks and Semis with more options coming out and in development on a regular basis.
What Is EV Charging And How Fast Is It?
EV charging is a very simple process of connecting a power adapter between the power outlet and the vehicle.
What that power adapter is and what you get from it is a little more complex
There are three levels of Electric Vehicle Service equipment for an EV (commonly referred to as chargers).
Level 1 is a 120 volt at 20 amps charge which can be from virtually and household plug.
The charger for the vehicle is actually on board the vehicle and not on the cable or adapter for this level of charge. This on board box converts AC current to DC current since electric vehicle batteries are DC.
The maximum power you can get with a level 1 charger is 1.9 kilowatts / hour.
This is the slowest method of charging but this adapter usually comes with the vehicle as a standard and the ability to carry the cord and plug in anywhere gives it validity, even in a pinch situation.
Level 1 is the format that most EV owners use for power. At the end of the day, you simply park your vehicle and plug the car in (depending on need). It charges over night and you have a full charge for the next day.
Charging at this rate can be in excess of 20 hours depending on the battery size of the vehicle and what state of depletion it is in at the time of charging.
Again, the charger for the vehicle is actually on board the vehicle and not on the cable or adapter for this level of charge. This on board box converts AC current to DC current since electric vehicle batteries are DC.
Level 2 is a 240 volt at 80 amps with power similar to that used by your home stove or dryer. The high end of AC Level 2 is 19.2 kilowatts / hour however some vehicles on board charging systems scale the power back to as low as 3.3 kilotwatts / hour.
Although many EV owners have installed level 2 chargers in their homes for the faster charge, in most cases, for average urban driving it is not necessary.
There are many level 2 charging stations within the cities, and applications like Plug Share offer a means of finding them. These charging stations are somewhat more rare in the rural areas, so long EV journeys may require a bit more forethought and planning.
These chargers are able to drop charge times to a few hours rather than the lengthy charge of a Level 1 charge.
Level 3 chargers or super chargers are a very high speed means of getting power. These units in the level 3 AC category are much higher than the level 2 maximum of 19.2 kw but this category is currently undefined.
DC chargers do not reside in the vehicle as AC chargers do. The charger is contained in the large cabinet to which the charging cord is attached. Level 1 DC goes to a maximum of 36 kw. Level 2 DC goes to a maximum of 90 kw.
These chargers have the ability to charge at amazing rates giving you a charge up in less than an hour.
At the moment there is only 1 public level 3 charging station in Alberta outside of Simons in Londondary Mall in Edmonton.
Tesla Proprietary Charging Network
It should be mentioned in this conversation that Tesla does have level 2 and level 3 charging stations in play in Alberta however these are proprietary and for Teslas only with an adapter specifically for use on Teslas.
This charging network has been developed and is maintained by the sales of Teslas and was implemented to fill the void of chargers and aid in Tesla electric vehicle adoption.
How Is An Electric Vehicle Cleaner If We Get Our Power In Alberta From Burning Coal?
While it is true that in Alberta about 41 percent of installed electricity generation capacity is from coal, almost 40 percent from natural gas with roughly 20% comprised of wind, biomass and waste heat as forms of electricity generation to power the grid. It is estimated 750 tonnes of Co2 produced for every gigawatt of power created in Alberta on average which is higher than that of other provinces that use hydroelectricity as the main power creation format.
There are however other options to the standard power companies which lower the GHG and pollution footprint for electrical energy use.
For many EV owners this is remedied by the installation of Solar PV at their home to create the power for their vehicles (and in many cases off set parts of their home electrical use as well) in a 100% sustainable and renewable energy method.
There are also other options available for getting power such as green solar co-ops and green energy providers who leverage wind and solar initiatives for home and business electric energy consumers.