Plug it in and Go


It has finally happened. I went to fill up my car, and the gasoline pump hit three digits. To say I had a shock, would be an understatement, because I remember filling up my entire tank for under $10 when I was young.


I know I’m not the only one to go through this, but it certainly has people thinking about alternative choices for vehicles. I was surprised to read that most of the car companies were no longer investing in researching or developing gasoline based engines.


The future is obviously electric, and it appears we will see a new group of players emerge in the marketplace. Tesla is clearly the forerunner in this area, as they have excelled and produced a fantastic product. Last year they sold just under a million units, however an alliance of Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi, is a very close runner up. Volkswagen has also done a lot of work, and vows to have 50 different electric car models by 2025.


North America was slow to start, but production of the new Ford E150 truck next year will change that drastically, finally starting to catch up to European trends, where electric vehicles have been promoted heavily over the past dozen or so years.


Most vehicles will allow you to travel in and around the 500 km range on one charge. Some vehicles, like Tesla, show you where power charge stations are located along your route. The new Ford E150, because it is simply larger, should have a larger battery, but Ford is guaranteeing only 400 km on a charge, although you can upgrade to 500 km models.


Once you get past the FROP anxiety (Fear of Running Out of Power), you will be able to cruise along, without too many concerns. Charging at home can be done overnight, or you can find super charge stations, which are rapidly increasing in numbers.


So what does it cost to run an electric vehicle? The most practical way is to charge it is at home, overnight. This will take around 8 hours (similar in concept to charging your phone - you plug it in and forget about it). The cost in Ontario, because we pay about 8.5 cents per kw hour, at off-peak times, would be about $4. This means, if you drive 20,000 km in the course of a year, you would pay approximately $300 for electricity. In comparison, a gasoline vehicle, at $1.50 a litre would run about $3,000.


The savings alone is worth considering moving into the world of electric vehicles, but the benefit to the environment is immense. Maintenance is much less as well, and the overall technology is fantastic. Now, how many double A batteries will I need to convert my current vehicle?


Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on Rogers TV, the Standard Website or YouTube.


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