The federal and Ontario governments are putting the pedal to the metal when it comes to electric hybrid vehicles. They each announced more than $130 million to upgrade a Honda plant in Alliston to produce hybrid EVs.
Why are governments giving EVs the green light? More Canadians are looking to pump the brakes on gas vehicles. With the price of fuel spiking to record highs, a new KPMG survey found that 61 per cent of Canadians say our vulnerable oil supply has convinced them it’s time to buy an EV. Thirty per cent say they regret they haven’t bought an EV already.
In the third quarter of 2020, just 3.5 per cent of total new vehicles registered in Canada were zero-emission vehicles. While the desire to own EVs has increased this year, some issues may be holding buyers back. This includes the time it takes to charge the vehicle, how much range the battery has and the lack of charging infrastructure.
Solutions are accelerating: These issues are widely recognized and several Canadian companies are looking to solve them. Toronto-based Li Metal is designing new technologies that will help produce cheaper, cleaner batteries that will help EVs travel farther and address the “charge and range anxiety” for prospective owners.
“Our efforts will help improve the range, safety, and cost of an EV,” said Maciej Jastrzebski, co-founder and CEO of Li Metal. “We produce ultrathin metallic lithium anodes that are designed to reduce the cost of the batteries while at the same time improving the energy density.”
Toronto’s Peak Power has developed technologies that allow EVs to provide backup power to homes and sell electricity back to the grid during moments of peak demand. The company says this creates income for drivers that will offset the cost of owning an EV.
“EVs are thought of as a mobility asset. We see EVs as a form of mobile energy storage,” said Matthew Sachs, chief operating officer of Peak Power. “When connected to industrial facilities or commercial buildings, battery energy storage can help balance supply and demand on the grid, reducing the most polluting and most expensive hours of energy use.”