Juicing Up or Gassing Up-Where EV Stand on Canada’s Electric Grid System

In Saint-Hugues, Quebec, Canada, Diring a snowfall an electric car is covered with snow. The car is the Chevrolet Bolt. The vehicle is charging. A lot of snow covers the car.

How sustainable are electric vehicles on the electricity grids of Canada? The Federal government wants all new sales in Canada in 2035 to be electric vehicles. With the increase of electric vehicles on the road the concern for the electricity overload also grows. The federal government will have to figure out how to keep the electricity grid performing well while being able to charge electric vehicles on time.

Statcan says that in 2019 Canada reached 625,060 terajoules electricity usage and that this number is set to increase as more electric vehicles come on the road. in 2017 electric care sales represented 1% of new vehicle registration and grew 10.3% by almost the end of 2023.

In 2022, despite COVID-19 pandemic challenges and semiconductor shortages, global electric vehicle (EV) sales represented 14% of all vehicles sold, marking a substantial increase from the 9% market share in 2021. This rise, led by China and Europe, contributed to a total of over 26 million EVs on roads, with battery electric vehicles (BEVs) driving about 70% of this growth.

Amith Vijayan posts an article on LinkedIn and states a major problem is load management. If not addressed properly it can cause outages. An example he provided was the load impact in Germany. He says with the current trends Germany will need to increase the power grid generation by 5 gigawatts. 

According to Virta Global , an environmentally friendly group in favour of electric vehicles sharing their beliefs on electric vehicles.  They believe the increase of electric vehicles will not break the grid. They introduced the idea of smart charging. This system would control the timing of charging the vehicles. For example, when the sun is shining bright the electricity usage is low so the system would keep the electric vehicles charging. During times the electricity usage is high, the charging system would turn off.

EV Charging Plugs
EV Charging Plugs
Electric car charging outdoors in the winter. credit Luka Jankovic
A white Tesla Model 3 sedan BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle - fully powered purely by electricity) with brightly illuminated headlights reflecting across the slippery wet asphalt is approaching on a rural road during a sloppy, drizzly winter snow storm in western New York State. Photo taken on Clark Road in Penfield, New York near Rochester, NY about 4:45pm on February 18, 2021.

According to natural resources Canada, achieving a net zero economy is crucial if want to give the future generations a habitable home. To make this happen, Canada's electricity grid will become the most important piece. In 2035, the electricity grid will fully be decarbonized enabling to electrify fully by 2050. The Canadian grid is already doing well as it is over 80% non-emitting. This means that the grid is getting its power from renewable and non-emitting resources. Successfully implementing the net zero economy would mean a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, improve the resilience of the grid and develop a healthier environment for our natural resources. 

By the Canadian government providing support to electric vehicles it shows that the government cares about the condition of the environment and future generations. A few solutions the government is doing is finding ways to allow the grid to generate more power through more non-emissions energy. Consideration of new transmission lines between the provinces and territories. They are also looking at distribution of energy sources. We should also consider taxpayer costs in these solutions.

According to the government of Canada, the average Canadian spends roughly $3,000 on gas each year. They compared a regular sedan with an electric sedan. The consumer would be able to charge their car at home for roughly $10 to achieve an approximate 400 kilometer range. The same sedan would need roughly $50 to achieve the same kilometer range. Using this kind of estimation the government of Canada believes that Canadians will save about $36.7 billion in energy costs. 

As of this month the government is deciding to install another 43,000 charging stations across the country. The government will continue to monitor what else will be needed for EVs. They will also determine how best to set the charging infrastructure in Canada while ensuring the reliability of chargers.

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