The Newsletter of Electric Vehicle Society

July 2020

The Silver Lining

Challenging and changing times create inconveniences.  They also inspire us to find new ways to do the important things that need doing, regardless of the circumstances.  Virtual outreach has opened new communications opportunities for everyone, and EV Society has been embracing them very effectively.  For example, Regional chapter meetings continue online with free EVS Zoom facilities, motivating members to continue educating neighbours, local businesses, and local governments.  Our new Canada Talks Electric Vehicles webinar series was kicked off in June and was a resounding success.  It started a great conversation and follow-up interview that is now available on the EVS YouTube channel. (Be sure to tune in to upcoming webinars on the 1st Tuesday of each month)

Personally, I recently had the pleasure of connecting with some of my counterparts in the US and have been invited to join an upcoming international call.  I’ll be sharing some of the amazing coast to coast to coast Canadian success stories submitted by many of you and will bring back ideas from other global initiatives that we can explore across Canada.

While we may have been working under a cloud for the last several months, we are finding silver linings and embracing them enthusiastically.

Stay well, take care, and move forward (electrically of-course)!


A Million Mile Picnic

or the New Car Smell?

Million mile batteries are big news but what effect will they have on potential EV buyers? Will batteries that last almost five times as long as many car owners are expected to keep their current vehicles make EVs irresistible to car shoppers? Some pundits say the impact will be less than anticipated. They say that longevity is not a key factor when car owners decide to trade up. Here are three of the reasons they often cite to explain car owners buying habits:

1. Reliability - When a car starts to show its age and the cost and frequency of repairs and maintenance begins to rise, worried owners will trade up to avoid the increasing cost of ownership. That happens long before they have a "million miles" on their cars.

2. Technology - Owners want to keep up with the newest and most sophisticated technology available and will trade up to get it..

3. The “new-car smell”. Car buyers who are addicted to it will replace their cars frequently to maintain the experience of owning the newest thing that manufacturers have to offer.

Often a test drive in an EV is enough to make a sale or create a convert. When it isn't, we may have to address topics like these. Here are some ideas:

Reliability - A car with a handful of moving parts suffers a lot less wear and tear than a car with thousands of moving parts. Add to that fact that EVs save their owners thousands of dollars in “fuel” costs and you have a very compelling financial and durability argument.

Technology – Cars have become computers on wheels. Many of the new features that we look for are included in software updates. Cars get better and stay newer longer without requiring an expensive “trade up”. EVs are particularly good at staying current and compelling.

The “new car smell” is probably the most expensive luxury item on any car. Newly purchased vehicles start to loose a huge percentage of their purchase price as soon as they are driven off the lot. No amount of “new car smell” air freshener will bring it back. Maybe owning a car that stays current, drives better, lasts longer and costs astonishingly less to maintain will be so compelling that reluctant car buyers will be eager to make the shift! Maybe a million mile picnic will be too tempting to miss!

Bill Bruesch, Editor

Talk to us!


Free Webinar

Be sure not to miss the July 7th episode of the Canada Talks Electric Cars webinar 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM EST.

In this episode entitled “Roaming Canada’s EV Charging Landscape”, you will hear from Suzanne Goldberg, Director of Public Policy for ChargePoint in Canada, the world’s leading electric vehicle charging network. Among other things, Suzanne will talk about the future of EV charging in Canada and the efforts underway to ensure a seamless refuelling experience for electric car owners.

Here's the registration link:

If you are unable to attend the webinar on July 7, it will be recorded and available for viewing on the Electric Vehicle Society’s Youtube channel.

-Tim Burrows

Missauga Chapter & Webinar Lead, EVS


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Getting Back to school with Chevy at the Bolt EV Academy

Chevrolet invites Bolt EV owners to go back to school with the new Bolt EV Academy.

Launched on May 29, this online service provides a series of 15 videos to help educate current and future Bolt EV owners on the advantages of living electric and how to get the most out of their electric vehicle.

Available on the Internet, this series explains several of the Bolt EV’s unique features, driving tips and how-tos.

For future Bolt EV drivers, the series will illustrate just how fun, easy and convenient it is to live with an electric vehicle – all explained by the engineers and experts who brought the Bolt EV to life.

The video series includes topics such as

– Home charging basics;
– Road trip charging;
– One pedal driving and regen on demand;
– Driver display screens;
– Personalizing active safety features;
– Cold weather driving tips.

Videos can be found on many of Chevrolet’s channels including YouTube,  Chevrolet and the MyChevy app. Sadly for Canadians, all the content only comes from American websites…

Article courtesy of Automotive Innovations Magazine

5 green infrastructure projects engineers recommend to boost COVID-19 economic recovery

Top one is:

Electric vehicle charging stations

Transportation accounts for 25 per cent Canada's greenhouse gas emissions, according to government data.

The government has announced $130 million in funding, over five years ending in 2024, to develop a national recharging network.

"A standardized, major roll-out of electric charging stations ... would accelerate the conversion of the vehicle fleet to electric," MacKay said.

Building a network to cover 25 per cent, 50 per cent and 100 per cent of the country would cost roughly $1 billion, $2 billion and $5 billion, respectively, said Hewage.

Cost: About $5 billion for electric charging stations to cover the whole country, Hewage said.

The remaining 4 are:

Improved water management

Energy efficient homes

Rebuild bridges, roads and tunnels

Clean up old mines, wells

Information is from a CBC article

Tesla going into software subscription service, could become big business

Tesla has started to indicate that it is going to expand its software offering, including a subscription to its full self-driving package, and analysts are starting to consider this new revenue stream as a massive opportunity.

Over the last year, Tesla has made several moves to start generating revenue from software.

The automaker started charging $10 a month for its ‘premium connectivity’ features.

Tesla also started selling software features through its mobile app.

the most important move Tesla is making to create revenue from software is selling its Full Self-Driving Package and recently, Tesla even announced that it will offer its Full Self-Driving Package as a subscription service, which could be considered software-as-a-service (SaaS).

CEO Elon Musk said during Tesla’s last earnings call:

I think we will offer Full Self-Driving as a subscription service, but it will be probably towards the end of this year.”

The firm believes that it could have a major impact on Tesla’s business: “There are many risks to achieving such a scenario” including regulations, the take rate being affected by expansion in other countries, and others.

I think this will be a massive business for Tesla. The great thing with the subscription service is that you can try it for a month and if you don’t see the value in it, you can unsubscribe.

Article by Electrek

GM To Launch All-Electric Delivery Vans Starting In 2021

GM's electric van "BV1" is expected in the U.S. in late 2021.

According to the latest media reports,General Motors' electrification plan (of 20 BEVs by 2023) will include not only cars/SUVs/pickups, but also commercial vehicles.

That's not surprisingto us fortwo reasons. First, its main competitor in the U.S. - Ford, has the all-electric Ford Transit Electric van in the works (for 2021 in Europe and 2022 in North America) and is engaged with Rivian, which develops all-electric vans for Amazon.

Secondly, it's a natural next step to the all-electric pickup trucks, as many parts (including drive units and Ultium battery packs) might be shared with commercial vehicles.

According to the Reutersarticle, GM intends to add BEVs to its most profitable segments (SUVs/pickups/commercial vehicles)soon to capture the market before new players like Tesla.

The code name for the electric van is "BV1", while the market introduction is reportedly scheduled for late 2021. The expected assembly location is the Detroit-Hamtramck plant (already envisioned for the pickups). It's not yet said under which brand the van will be sold.

The key element for the electric vans is to keep the total cost of ownership more attractive than in the case of conventional versions and make the vehicles very reliable.

Electrification of vans is much more advanced in Europe, where we already saw a double-digit number of models (BEVs and range-extended plug-ins).

This is an important segment of the market.

Article by Insideevs

Electric barge carries its batteries in a shipping container

An electric barge will soon quietly carry cargo along inland waterways in The Netherlands, powered by batteries housed in a shipping container.

Dutch company Wärtsilä designed the barge, and is working with other companies and government agencies to build a zero-emission maritime transportation service around it. Inland shipping currently accounts for 5% of carbon-dioxide emissions in The Netherlands, according to Wärtsilä.

Barges access many inland routes in close proximity to people, so it would save them from exposure to particulate emissions from diesel exhaust.

The electric barge will be powered by battery packs built into shipping containers, which will be swapped out when depleted.

The battery containers, which will be charged onshore from renewable sources, are also designed for temporary onshore use to supplement the local electrical grid, according to Wärtsilä.

Several projects are underway to launch zero-emission ships.

Article by Green Car Reports

Volvo and Renewable Energy

The Volvo Cars manufacturing plant in Chengdu, the company’s largest in China, is now powered by 100 percent renewable electricity, taking the company’s global renewable electricity mix in its manufacturing network to 80 percent.

The 100 percent renewable electricity mix in Chengdu is the result of a newly signed supply contract and will reduce the plant’s CO2 emissions by over 11,000 tonnes per year.

It is the latest concrete step towards Volvo Cars’ ambition to have climate neutral manufacturing by 2025, part of a wider climate plan that aims to reduce the overall carbon footprint per car by 40 percent between 2018 and 2025. By 2040, Volvo Cars aims to be a climate neutral company.

The new electricity contract is also in line with broader ambitions in China to reduce carbon emissions from industry and reduce the carbon footprint resulting from energy generation.

Until recently, the Chengdu plant already sourced 70 percent of its electricity from renewable sources. The new contract addresses the last 30 percent.

Under the new contract, around 65 percent of the electricity supply comes from hydropower, while the remainder comes from solar power, wind power and other renewable sources.

Volvo Cars is constantly working to reduce the carbon footprint of its manufacturing network and has reached a number of milestones in recent years. All its European plants have had a climate neutral electricity supply since 2008, while the engine plant in Skövde, Sweden was the first in the company’s network to become completely climate neutral in 2018.

At the Ghent plant in Belgium, Volvo Cars installed 15,000 solar panels in 2018, the first large-scale introduction of solar energy in its global manufacturing network.

These and other measures are part of the climate plan Volvo Cars launched late last year, one of the most ambitious in the automotive industry. The centrepiece of the plan is Volvo Cars’ ambition to generate 50 percent of global sales from fully electric cars by 2025, with the rest hybrids.

Yet the plan goes beyond addressing tailpipe emissions through all-out electrification and also seeks to tackle carbon emissions in the company’s wider operations, its supply chain and through recycling and reuse of materials.

Article by Automotive Innovations Magazine

Unifor’s position on EVs

From Electrek:

Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector trade union with 310,000 members, is urging the government to include an aggressive plan to produce and sell many more electric vehicles as part of the country’s post-pandemic economic recovery plan. Ahead of its upcoming negotiations with Detroit automakers, Unifor has declared its support for “targeted subsidies and investments” in EV incentives, infrastructure and technologies.

You can read more about this important development at Electrek’s website.

Kawartha Chapter - Time for a Re-think

Along with everyone else, the Kawartha Chapter is always looking for new ways to spread the word about electrified transportation to the widest audience possible. Given the current situation, that’s an unusually tough challenge. In a recent meeting, members of the Chapter discussed the opportunities that already exist:

  • Make better use of what you already have like Facebook and other social media options to promote the message aggressively. If you happen to have your own website, use it as well.
  • If you belong to other groups or organizations use their newsletters and social media options to tell the EVS story.
  • Make use of existing forums like local newspapers. People still read letters to the editor and guest editorials (an example of which follows).
  • Ask for favours. If you know someone who has an existing in contact with an existing audience, ask them to help you spread the EVS message as well.
  • Create “virtual” events using online meeting sites (like Zoom). There are several options available, and some sites are free (with restrictions). A web search will turn up options and be sure to do your “due diligence” before you sign up for anything.

These items may seem self-evident, but sometimes the “obvious” is lost in the tumult of confusion!

Here’s a good example of the guest editorial option, written by Chapter member Robert Lockhart:

What You May Not Know about Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles (EVs) have come a long way in just a few years. However, I’ve discovered that many people think that electric vehicles don’t have enough range, the battery needs to be replaced every few years, they’re too expensive, there aren’t enough charging stations, they take too long to charge, and there aren’t enough vehicle types. A few years ago, those were valid concerns – but not so much anymore.

Today’s fully electric vehicles have a range of 175-1,000 kms. (400 km. average) and increasing annually. According to Natural Resources Canada, the average person drives 41 kms/day. If you have a power source at home, you’ll always leave with a full charge. If you can’t charge at home, there may be a public charging station close to where you live and/or work.

You could begin with one of 25 semi-electric plug-in hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius Prime, Honda Clarity and Ford Fusion Energy. On average, plug-in hybrids provide 46 kms. of electric range after which they seamlessly switch to the gas/electric drivetrain.

Locally, there are 29 EV charge points at 19 locations, with more on the way. There are already enough chargers along busy highways in Canada and the US, with more being installed every month along less busy roads and in more remote areas. Although the fastest chargers provide up to 32 kms. of range per minute, most EVs can’t charge that fast yet – requiring 30-45 minutes to charge to 80%.

It’s predicted that an EV battery will outlast the vehicle. New types of batteries are in development that are cheaper, lighter, charge faster and degrade more slowly. 60% of a lithium-ion battery can be recycled into materials for a new battery, and it’s expected that it will reach 90%.

There are 25 plug-in hybrid and 20 fully electric vehicles available in Ontario, with many qualifying for the $2,500-$5,000 federal rebate. Plug ‘N Drive provides a $1,000 rebate for a used EV. Soon, there’ll be many more electric vehicle choices, including sedans, SUVs, crossovers, sports cars, pickup trucks, delivery vehicles, garbage trucks, long haul trucks, buses and motorcycles. All major automakers are in the game, with $300 billion committed over the next five years for EV development.

Now the game changer! With the cost of batteries dropping quickly and less labour required to build an EV, they’ll soon cost less than gas- and diesel-powered vehicles to build. However, automakers may not immediately pass along those savings because of low production volumes and huge development investments and legacy costs associated with their traditional fleet.

With EVs, you have to factor in the much lower operating costs (average of $2,000/year). As EVs become less expensive than traditional vehicles to own and operate, more people to choose them. Hopefully, their much lower carbon footprint will also influence decisions.

Since light-duty vehicles, and medium and heavy-duty trucks contribute about 24% to greenhouse gas emissions, an accelerated transition to zero emission vehicles will significantly reduce global warming. We only have 10 years to reduce our emissions by 50%!

EVs EVerywhere!!

EVs are showing up everywhere.

  • Personal EVs
  • Commercial EVs
  • Public Transit
  • Trains
  • Aircraft.
  • Ships and boats

Upcoming editions of EV Surge will features articles about the remarkable spread of electric transportation in every sector.

If you have a topic in mind, please tell us about it!


1911: What Range Anxiety?

In 1899, two American engineers drove their electric automobile 160km (100 miles) on a single charge. A decade later, Emil Gruenfeldt drove a Baker Electric Roadster (like the one pictured above) 259km (161 miles) on a single charge. In 1911, Gruenfeldt beat his own record by travelling 324km (201.6 miles) without recharging. These endurance tests were carefully planned events driven at modest speeds over a predetermined course, but that does not detract from the fact that over a century ago electric vehicles were a viable (many would say superior) alternative to their fossil-fueled counterparts.

The economic, social and technological forces that led to the curtailment of promising early traction battery development were complex and controversial. They have been and will be discussed and debated for years. Imagine where traction batteries might be today with an extra century of wide spread research and development.

The last several years of battery development have made one fact crystal clear: engineers and scientists don’t give up. They catch up. Then they surpass!


Looking Back to Looking Forward

This is a filler piece from the March, 1941 issue of Fantastic Adventures, a popular pulp magazine published by Ziff-Davis. Fans of the publication enjoyed reading about future possibilities in a variety of fields and technologies. It’s interesting to note that eight decades ago, readers were interested in clean, abundant, renewable energy sources. -Ed.

Harnessing the Sahara

Ever since man has inhabited the earth the great Sahara desert has been a more or less useless parcel of land. Yet about eighteen hundred times more energy inundates this terrifying desert than is contained in all the coal mined in the course of a year. And in one single day this vast wasteland receives three times as much energy as is contained in all the coal we burn in a whole year.

Where does all this energy come from?” you ask.

The sun is the answer. It supplies enough energy to desert wastelands to run all of industry throughout the world and still have some power left over. But this energy is of little practical value until man devises some way to harness this wild power. Can this be done? We think so....

Let’s go back a few years to a fellow named John Ericsson, the ingenious builder of the Monitor. He was the first man to invent a machine to catch the free energy coming from the sun. He built a huge concave mirror which reflected and concentrated the sun’s rays on a blackened boiler at the focus and which was mechanically turned so that it followed the sun.

Ericsson had to use glass mirrors and his apparatus was expensive to construct. However, today with modern aluminum reflectors we could build miles and miles of reflective surface across the Sahara. These reflectors could shine their intense heat on blackened pipes or tubes which would converge, in fanlike formation, at a central generating plant located near a source of water. This central generating plant could be thousands of miles from the outermost reflector.

From practically nothing each plant would be able to supply enough energy to accommodate two or three cities the size of New York or Chicago. Such power at ridiculously low rates would soon attract manufacturers. Capitalists would compete for the possession of desert sites and arid tropical land might command prices approaching those of Broadway real estate dealers. Smoking cities would spring up near the newly found sources of energy; a new social order would come to pass.

Supposing that it would be impractical to move our huge cities or build new ones, would we have to scrap our plan? Not at all. Chances are we could develop an energy storage cell. Nature might give us the answer to our problem here. Every green leaf is a virtual storehouse of solar power. Through an ingenious photochemical process plants use energy to synthesize a large number of chemical substances in their protoplasm. Every leaf is chuck full of stored up chemical energy and would it not be possible to build a container, using the leaf’s process, to store power?

The cry, “We are overcrowded and restricted. We need fertile colonies!” would be a slogan of the past.


(This letter in the Our Readers Say column from the September, 1939 issue of Popular Scienec magazine makes an excellent suggestion for an economical, clean form of personal transportation. Please note the text above the illustration. An e-bike with re-gen in 1939. What a great idea! -Ed.)

How about some plans for running a bicycle with an electric motor? Just as an idea, an automobile starting motor might be used, with a good storage battery mounted on a rack over the rear wheel to supply the juice. If this wouldn’t be practical, I don’t know why not. The battery and starter of an automobile, if they’re both in good condition, will propel the average low-priced car a good part of a mile, I’ve been told. Remember, this means dragging a dead motor, too. The greatly reduced “load” of a bicycle, with corresponding decreased current consumption, aught to make this an ideal powerplant for propelling a bike on marketing trips and other short errands. Geared to the coaster-brake sprocket, the motor would be a free-wheeling unit on hills, and by the simple addition of a clutch, the motor could be disengaged to let the rider pedal on level stretches. A home-type battery charger, such as many motorists keep in their garages, would “refuel” the battery when needed. F. H., Teaneck, N.J.

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