The Road Ahead: The Shift to Electric Vehicles
In designing and building West 5, we looked at every aspect of the community in order to make it as sustainable as it could possibly be. This included using the latest in solar power technology, green roofs that promote energy efficiency and community gardens where people can grow and harvest their own food. Another consideration was how people commute. We looked down the road at where the vehicle as we know it is headed and we integrated this into West 5 for today and the future.
Thinking about Going Electric?
You may not hear them, but electric vehicle (EV) numbers are quietly gaining on gas-powered vehicles. In fact, the market share increased to 3.8 percent in Q1 2020 from 3 percent in Q4 2019, according to Electric Autonomy Canada. Like many others, you may find yourself contemplating making the switch yourself, but may not know just how to do it.
We’ve compiled some of the key facts you’ll want to consider before joining the growing number of drivers opting to go electric.
First, you will save money. Electric cars cost less compared to gas vehicles. As they have become more mainstream, the price of the vehicles themselves has become the same or less than gas vehicles. Once you purchase an electric vehicle, you’ll save even more money because of savings from no longer paying for gas or oil, and simply, there are just fewer parts to break down.
Second, you’ll breathe easier. This is not just because you’re in a better financial position, but also literally. Your vehicle is now running clean, without emitting any dangerous toxins into the environment. Electric vehicles help reduce disease, save the ozone layer and slow global warming.
Third, you’ll get where you want to go. In the early days of electric cars there was something called “range anxiety.” People worried that if they drove an electric vehicle they might be stranded when the battery power was drained. Today’s models have vastly improved battery technology and now include features that actually regenerate the battery when the brakes are applied. Plus, charging stations are popping up everywhere now, including here at West 5!
Get Charged Up!
With an electric vehicle, you don’t pull into a gas station and fill up, you pull the vehicle up to a charging station. Most EV owners have charging stations at their home for convenient recharging, like some of our residents here at West 5, and recharging stations are now scattered through cities and along highways everywhere. Using an EV charger is very much the same as recharging your phone or laptop. You plug it in and walk away – No need to worry about pumping gas!
So, how do home charging stations work? Well, EV chargers are classified by levels. A Level 1 charger uses an ordinary wall outlet, and needs between 8-12 hours to fully charge the battery. You will get a much better range with a Level 2 charger at 10-25 miles of range per hour. Installation involves some new electrical equipment, such as a dedicated circuit panel with the help of a licensed electrician. The next level charger, Level 3, is the fastest. These charge a battery up to 80 percent in just half an hour, so understandably, they are the most sought after. The fast charge, though comes at a price. In fact, these charging stations are currently only found in public spaces for that reason.
Our plan at West 5 is to install Level 2 chargers at every new development over the next 5-10 years, once market uptake is saturated, we will invest in a select number of Level 3 chargers as well. Following that, we’ll deploy an electric vehicle energy management system (EVEMS). This will allow us to network all of the chargers and manage them on a common dashboard. We will be able to fluctuate electrical output to each charger, which means we will be able to better manage our internal electrical grid.
EVs are fast becoming more mainstream and at West 5, we’re ready for them! If you’re looking for ways to be kinder to planet earth and also take a trip to the future, consider an EV for your next vehicle!