Talking cars is tantamount to talking energy. If finding the necessary energy to get around town wasn't much of an issue in the Flintstone era, it's a huge issue in the real world. Are we wasting our money on fossil fuels, and what are the different resources available to supply the Canadian market?
What is V2H?
V2H, or Vehicle to Home, is a way to use the energy accumulated in your rechargeable EV's batteries.
This futuristic technology is already being tested in Japan. It's important to know that worldwide, electricity rates vary tremendously. One way of curbing demand at peak hours in certain countries is to raise the rates during these peaks. In such cases, the V2H could provide an alternative power source during expensive peak hours, while taking advantage of the cheaper non-peak rates to re-charge the batteries.
In Canada, the system could become a major asset during power outages. A 24 kWh battery, similar to the one found in the Nissan LEAF, can provide a couple of days of power if used parsimoniously. After all, the average refrigerator consumes only 1.5 kWh per day.
|"The Nissan LEAF can provide a couple of days of power" (Photo: Nissan)|
Abundant Canadian energy
Hydro-Quebec has calculated that the daily power consumption of one million electric vehicles would amount to 3 TWh of electricity annually. For those who like zeros, the number is 3 000 000 000 kWh. This big round number amounts to the entire yearly Eastmain-1 hydroelectric dam output. Therefore, existing infrastructures could easily accommodate a massive influx of EV's.
The latest online Canadian power production data shows a total of 479 hydroelectric facilities, 375 thermal power plants, 7 nuclear production facilities and 54 wind farms. This 2007 data does not take into account the closure of the only Quebec nuclear plant or the massive wind-power investments of these last few years.
This energy helps us recharge our EV's for about half the cost of recharging in most American cities. Let's compare Vancouver rates for its 603 500 citizens, at 8.78 ¢/kWh with another island, let's say San Francisco, whose 812 800 citizens pay 22.26 ¢/kWh . I must admit that these are extremes. But, as we know, supply and demand dictate price, so it's safe to assume that we are not even close to being short of supply.
Canada imports more than 23 billion dollars' worth of fuel annually, including 12 billion for Quebec, so imagine the effect on our GDP if we kept most of this money instead of sending it overseas.
The one million EV's and their 3 TWh of power consumption would add $ 210 million to our coffers, instead of spending 3 billion dollars on fuel, while lowering greenhouse gas emissions by 3.6 million metric tons.
|Ford Focus Electric (Photo: Ford)|