Last week, Plug’n Drive published a report on how electric vehicles (EV) can fit into Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan by helping to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the transportation sector. You can download the full report at Electric Vehicles: Helping Ontario Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Here’s a summary of our findings:
Ontario is calling for GHG reductions of 15% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% reductions by 2050. Ontario has made significant progress lowering emissions by phasing out coal-fired electricity. However, emissions from the transportation sector have continued to grow and account for 34% of all GHG emissions in Ontario.
The Threat of Gasoline:
There are more than 7.6 Million light duty vehicles in Ontario using more than 16 Billion litres of gasoline per year. That’s close to 6,400 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Those 16 Billion litres emit more than 37 Mega-tonnes of GHG emissions, the equivalent of 4.9 million elephants, every year. The writing is in the air…
How Electric Vehicles Help:
Plug’n Drive estimates that a driver can reduce their GHG emissions by as much as 67-95% by switching to an EV and using Ontario’s clean electricity for fuel.
As of February 2015, there were more than 3,825 electric vehicles in Ontario with the potential to offset as much as 12,910 tonnes of GHG emissions and reduce gasoline usage by as much as 5.8 million litres per year.
Electric Vehicle sales today represent just 0.05% of car sales in Ontario, but sales have increased each year since the Chevy Volt, Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Nissan LEAF were introduced in 2011. Plug’n Drive undertook an analysis of five EV sales penetration scenarios:
- Status Quo – 0.05% sales rate through to 2050;
- Sales increase 10% annually to 2020 and stabilize at 1% through to 2050;
- Sales increase 25% annually to 2020 and stabilize at 2.4% through to 2050;
- Sales increase 50% annually to 2020 and stabilize at 8.7% through to 2050;
- Sales increase 100% annually to 2020 and stabilize at 32.5% through to 2050.
As you can see, in each scenario the GHG reductions from EVs is significant and EVs can play a key part in helping Ontario reduce its dependence on oil.
To ensure the success of EVs in Ontario, Plug’n Drive has put forth several recommendations to Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change:
- Implement a price on carbon either through cap and trade or a carbon tax
- Continue the Electric Vehicle Incentive program
- Accelerate the deployment of a public charging stations by implementing an incentive program as has been done in Québec and British Columbia
- Provide an incentive for off-peak charging by introducing a ‘super low’ rate during off-peak hours when the GHG emissions from electricity generation are lowest
- Revise the Building Code Act, 1992 and the Condominium Act, 1998 to make installing charging stations in multi-residential units easier
- With less gasoline being purchased, consider a replacement for lost gas tax, such as taxing by kilometre driven or implementing a carbon tax
- Survey Canada’s EV drivers to better understand what influences drivers to switch to an EV
- Research end-of-life applications for used EV batteries, such as recycling them or reusing them for energy storage
- Provide an incentive to Ontario’s municipalities that make EVs a part of their fleets.
The full report is available for free download at Electric Vehicles: Helping Ontario Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions.