The public is embracing green vehicles
In yet another testament to our green ideology, residents are embracing electric vehicles.
This area’s discerning motoring public is definitely seeing green when it comes to their preferred mode of transportation.
Tesla Model X
Steven Dengler has had a long-time love affair with Tesla and the company philosophy. He was one of the first in Canada to get his hands on the Tesla Model X in the fall of 2016. Everything about this car is “ridiculous” – in a good way.
“It’s ridiculous how amazing it is,” Dengler observed. It’s spacious, comfortable, well designed and incredibly quiet. It’s also quite nimble, and Dengler boasts that off the line, few sports cars can match its launch capabilities.
The P100D model goes from 0 to 100 km/h in a lightning fast 3.1 seconds!
The X is heavier than the popular Model S sedan and so it’s not intended for long distance travel. However, the vehicle boasts an operating range of between 381 and 465 kilometres.
Dengler pointed out that the vehicle’s moving parts have nothing to do with propulsion, so it’s amazingly low-maintenance.
Tesla backs its vehicles with a solid 4-year, 80,000-kilometre limited warranty, and an 8-year, infinite kilometre battery and drive unit warranty.
Dengler said he doesn’t worry about traveling moderate distances, noting there’s a growing network of charging stations and “superchargers” dotting the landscape. He regularly drives from his home to Toronto and back, using the HOV lane to boot.
He admits the car is “really cool,” and the head-turning feature is the rear falcon-wing doors.
Cooler still is the upcoming Tesla Roadster, an all-electric supercar reported to be the fastest car in the world. Tesla’s website indicates this car has a top speed of 400 km/h and goes from 0 to 100 km/h in 1.9 seconds!
Dengler said he’s always been a fan of the green concept and recalls his first visit to the Tesla factory in the U.S. in 2006.
There are many things about this vehicle to love – no emissions, a linear power curve, safety, space, visibility, the list goes on. Dengler, at 6’5,” has plenty of room in the driver’s seat and visibility is amazing, thanks to the panoramic windshield.
“It’s the best vehicle I’ve ever owned,” he said.
The all-wheel-drive Model X can accommodate seven adults and is reported to be the safest SUV on the road.
Appeal of the BMW i8
The BMW i8, a hybrid sports car unlike anything else on the road. The combination of an electric motor and a powerful gasoline engine provides the foundation for one of the most innovative sports cars of our time.
Sliding behind the wheel, you think you’re piloting a starship. Getting into the sleek machine can be a bit of a challenge, so Livingston did an online video centred on getting in and out of the i8.
The BMW i8 offers far more than aesthetics and performance. The powerful plug-in hybrid system, combined with the BMW eDrive technology and a BMW TwinPower Turbo 1.5-litre, 3-cylinder gasoline engine, brings together the benefits of an electric motor and a gasoline engine to produce an outstanding driving experience.
The Smart Fortwo coupe, at just 2.69 metres long, basically launched the energy-efficient market. The electric model, which is the epitome of cute, retails for roughly $28,000 and is the perfect urban driver.
His and Hers
Angelo Santorelli sees his family’s pair of Teslas as good business sense.
They are definitely the way of the future, and are so economical to operate. Santorelli says it costs him $12 a week. They cost literally “nothing to run” and insurance is cheaper, too.
They have owned the S sedan and X SUV for roughly two years now. He admitted it took him a while to get used to the car’s range, and all of its features. But he says you just have to be organized. More and more charging stations are popping up across the GTA so there are no worries.
He frequently uses the auto pilot feature and said it’s very useful, but you still have to be in control of the vehicle. You have to be patient while driving in this mode because the vehicle tends to be cautious.
He will definitely upgrade to new models when they arrive on the market. He’d love to get his hands on the first Tesla pickup truck.
“We’re moving from a fossil-fuel, carbon-based economy to an electric economy.”
Wilf Steimle founded a high-tech company in 1983 and served as its president until 2014 when he sold his shares to pursue his passion for sustainable energy and electric vehicles. In 2015 he completed Al Gore’s climate reality training and lives off-grid as a demonstration of his commitment to a zero-carbon footprint.
Steimle said the advantages are huge over conventional vehicles. He lauds Tesla, noting without their efforts, “we wouldn’t be as far ahead.”
While Tesla offers premium models, Steimle pointed out there are several models just opver $20,000.
Many European countries are ahead of the curve. Countries like England, Germany, Holland and Denmark have announced they plan to ban the sale of gas-power cars starting in 2025.
“The writing is on the wall,” he said. “We’re moving from a fossil-fuel, carbon-based economy to an electric economy.”
He also pointed out that North American manufacturers will convert to electric drivetrains within the next three to eight years.
The infrastructure network of chargers is huge and growing. Battery life is also being extended. While still in its infancy, it’s predicted the lifespan of an electric vehicle will be well beyond 20 years.
His five-year-old Tesla S is nearing 200,000 kilometres without a single problem.
Wilf embarked on a 14,000-kilometre coast-coast trip in 2016 to meet and help unite leaders of electric vehicle groups throughout the country.
It’s a family affair for the Steimles. His father drives a Chev Bolt and his wife loves her Chevy Volt.
Prices will come down, and in the end, electric vehicles will benefit those in lower income groups, who spend a disproportionate amount of money on gas and maintenance.
“We need to do this (convert to EVs) for so many reasons,” he said.
In 2016 he joined the board of directors of Electric Mobility Canada and serves on several committees. In the same year he accepted the role of President of the Electric Vehicle Society.
The EV Society is a leading non-governmental group that delivers province-wide owner to potential-owner engagement based on experience, knowledge, and boundless enthusiasm.
Good-bye to gas
Passionate EV owner Keith Beckley is another cheerleader.
Consumers are looking for something different, he noted, and he puts EV adopters into four categories.
There are “performance junkies (this is a large percentage of Tesla drivers).” The performance of these cars is remarkable.
Green lovers and anti-oil motorists. And the “tech adopters” who love the newest technology.
“The other big force has been Tesla itself,” he said. “They have created a very desirable brand. Every guy in the room at my men’s hockey now wants to own one.”
The trend will continue and these EVs will overtake conventional cars in the near future.
“Once the capital cost comes to parity (a few years out) the ongoing costs are going to be fractional compared to an ICE. An electric drive train (including battery) should last 1.6 million kilometres. That is game changing.”
Will they change the landscape entirely? Yes.
“Think about your ICE vehicle having negative equity once EVs are widely adopted. No one will want one.”
Tesla, he said “is exceptional – a clear leader who is absolutely killing the high end sedan market.” The German automakers, Beckley pointed out, are the biggest electric car developers.
“Tesla is on a mission to get us off carbon. That helps command tremendous customer loyalty. It’s not just another car company.”
The future will only get brighter for EVs. They’ll become cheaper and consumers will have many more choices.
There are only two minor issues regarding EVs, Beckley said.
The initial purchase price tends to run higher at the moment, but this will change dramatically in the next few years.
The charging infrastructure is another minor issue, but huge changes are on the horizon.
“When I got my Tesla Model S five years ago (one of the first 10 in Canada) there were only a few chargers around anywhere. Long distance travel was an adventure. Now I don’t even think about it.”
The Beckleys do not own an internal combustion engine of any type. The Teslas are “technological marvels that get free functionality updates every two months. It simply feels great to drive.”
Beckley pointed out that many people don’t understand that charging is a solved problem because you charge where you park. You leave every day with a “full tank.”
Conservatively, batteries are improving at 5+% per year in all metrics. If you understand compounding it is not hard to see where it is going.
Electric cars are inherently safer with huge front crumple zones and a very low centre of gravity.
“EVs are superior in every way except, for maybe one or two more years, the cost of buying a comparable ICE car.”
Stats say it all
Sales of electric vehicles continue to grow exponentially. There are roughly 40 different models of EV vehicles in Canada to choose from. At the end of the second quarter of 2017 nearly 37,000 electric vehicles have been sold. This past June set a new record of 1,824 sales. The split between all electric battery EVs to plug-in hybrid EVs is 50:50.
Initially offered exclusively to plug-in hybrid-hungry Quebec consumers, Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI) has sold 649 Prius Prime plug-in hybrids since its launch in June. In the first two months alone, TCI sold more Prius Prime units than it did in the first full year of its previous generation.
Whether you’re looking for something practical, or want to turn heads with the latest technology, an EV may be the way to go. You’ll be doing our planet a favour.
Written by Mark Pavilons