Every Friday, The Charge looks back at the biggest headlines of the week with our own added insight and opinions for a broader picture of the news.
In January, a 65-km stretch of Interstate 95 in Virginia came to a stop as a snowstorm caused multiple crashes along the corridor. Vehicles – and their passengers – were stranded for around 24 hours as officials couldn’t cope with the influx of white stuff; it was a hell of a commute, to say the least.
But there were also stories – actually, ‘opinion pieces’ – surmising what would happen if all the cars would be EVs, like this story in the Washington Post. Worries and doomsday scenarios of electric vehicles and their ‘fragile’ batteries losing their charge in the cold, stranding motorists succumbing to hypothermia as their cars stopped working, and how gas-powered cars stand superior in apocalyptic scenarios.
Pish posh. Gas engines also lose efficiency in cold weather, and not everyone travels with a full tank of fuel, so there’s no guarantee they’ll fare better than an EV; these drivers would be just as susceptible to the cold as EV motorists. Volkswagen has demonstrated the fallacy of this thinking with a test using their ID.4. Of course, varying conditions will affect outcomes, but the overall takeaway is that, yes, you can survive being stranded in an electric car. And in many cases, you’ll last much longer.
It’s all in the numbers
Two recent studies have shown the growth of EVs in just the last few years, and the potential for what’s coming. In particular, here in Canada, a KPMG survey has found that almost 75 per cent of Canadians are considering an electric vehicle for their next purchase. Though, before you think we’ll be overrun by EVs, it’s not exactly that these people are running with chequebooks in hand to their nearest dealership. From the same study, almost 80 per cent of those surveyed say they won’t consider an EV with less than 400 km of range, and 64 per cent think EVs can’t handle Canadian winters. And half say they won’t want to wait more than 20 minutes for public charging.
So, there’s good news here, but also a realization that we have to work harder to show the benefits of electrified vehicles and how to live with them. Which is what The Charge is for.
But more good news: another study by Juniper Research shows that, by 2026, the global spend on home charging infrastructure will exceed US$16 billion. That’s 390 per cent more than last year’s spending, which shows the growth of EVs and consumer’s embrace of their benefits, such as lower fuel costs and having a full battery every morning. Owning an EV means changing your driving habits and lifestyle, and having a home charger is one of those changes – for the better.
Back to the future, literally …
When John DeLorean debuted his eponymous DMC-12 gull-winged sports car in 1981, he may have thought it would change the world, but not in the way it did. The company went bankrupt in 1982 amid drug trafficking charges for the founder, but the Back to the Future films solidified the stainless-steel wonder in the pantheon of the auto world.
A company in Texas bought the naming rights to the company in 1995 and has been selling used cars and parts, but now the DeLorean Motor Company has, excuse the pun, gone back to the future with an announcement that it will produce a fully electric version this year. There aren’t many details released yet, though it’s highly doubtable its battery will handle the 1.21 Gigawatts the movie car needed to travel through time. Nonetheless, it’s a vehicle that will be highly anticipated – if it ever gets off the ground.