DEMYSTIFY AND DEPLOY TRANSPORT ELECTRIFICATION
FROM THE MINUTES 2018
Why would a hydroelectric powerhouse sustain any vestige of attachment to an antiquated technology like gas-powered cars? Quebec has a unique opportunity: with its immense capacity to generate clean electricity and its modern metropolis recognized as a technological and economic hub, the province can choose its own path to sustainable mobility.
In 2008, 80% of the gasoline used in Quebec came from conventional sources such as oil wells. In 2018, 80% of it comes from tar sands and fracking, which are much more polluting. As a result, a gasoline-powered car pollutes far more in 2018 than it did 2008. Quebec’s gasoline consumption is around 8 billion litres per year, so along with the added environmental burden, this amounts to nearly $ 1 billion leaving the provincial economy each year.
LOOKING UP, TRENDING DOWN
According to Daniel Breton, there are three major shifts happening in the North American car market:
- Increased sales of electric and hybrid cars
- Decreased sales of conventional gas-powered cars
- Increased sales of gas-powered light trucks and SUVs
Therefore, even with more electric and hybrid cars on Quebec roads, the overall trend points towards an increase in greenhouse-gas emissions.
GOVERNMENTS MUST LEAD THE WAY
Some parts of the world experienced success with the "California model" which is threefold :
- Offers incentives to buyers of zero-emission vehicles
- Offers incentives to corporations willing to invest in green vehicle infrastructure such as charging stations
- Requires automakers to manufacture a certain minimum percentage of green automobiles
In Quebec, pulp and paper giant Cascade took advantage of the "Branché au travail" program, providing up to $5,000 in incentives to install 30 charging points at its headquarters. In a matter of months, the number of employees with electric vehicles tripled from six or seven to more than 20.
HYDROGEN HOPE VS. HYPE: TO CELL OR NOT TO CELL
Hydrogen is not an existing natural resource. Currently, 95% of hydrogen comes from fossil fuel sources, and producing it requires a huge amount of energy. Some sources calculate that driving a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle (FCV) costs four times more per kilometre than a battery-powered electric vehicle.
From Quebec's point of view, FCVs are not an enticing option:
- A battery charging point costs about $70,000, whereas a comparable fuel-cell station costs several million dollars
- Hydrogen's price per litre is still high than gasoline, whereas electricity costs about one eighth the price of gasoline, per kilometre
- In Quebec, using fuel cells means sending money to foreign fossil-fuel producers, whereas EVs are powered by renewable hydro-electricity, which supports the local economy