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Trans Canada Hwy electrified. Sault sparked in today

Thursday, December 06, 2012   by: Carol Martin

Sun Country Highway has electrified the Trans Canada Highway in just eight months.

The company's Vice President, Christopher Misch, was in Sault Ste. Marie this morning to unveil the city's free electric vehicle charging site located at the Delta Sault Ste. Marie Waterfront Hotel and Convention Centre.

He said the folks at the Delta were eager to become the Sault's spark along the highway, as were the other restaurants, hotels and tourist destinations the company partnered with to create the longest, greenest highway in the world.

He and a team from Sun Country Highway are taking a state-of-the-art Sun Country Highway limited edition Tesla Roadster across the country on the Trans Canada Highway to test out the charging sites. 

For its 50th birthday, Sun Country Highway gave the Trans Canada Highway 85 of the world's fastest-charging 240-volt Level 2 units enabling electric vehicle drivers to traverse the entire highway - all 10,000 or so kilometres of it - free of range anxiety.

By removing 'range anxiety', as many refer to the nagging worry that the car won't make it to the next charging site, Sun Country Highway effectively removes one of the obstacles to growth in the electric car industry and to achieving zero-emissions on Canadian roads.

The Sun Country Highway team started out in St. John's, Newfoundland, on November 17.

They were going to dip the Tesla's tires in the Atlantic ocean but thought better of it when they envisioned the sleek, sexy one-of-only 50, Tesla Roadster slipping off the pier and sinking into the ocean.

Instead, they decided to fill a flask with water from the ocean to bring across the country and pour into the Pacific ocean on December 20 in Victoria, British Columbia.

"We have a huge gala planned for that night in Victoria," says Misch. "It's supposed to be the end of the world so our president and founder, Ken Rathwell says we're celebrating the end of one world and bringing in a new world."

Sun Country Highway envisions that world to be filled with silent, emission-free, unimaginably low-maintenance vehicles that never ever need a drop of gasoline. 

The team behind Sun Country Highway came together to put their money where their mouths are, says Misch.

"We want to build the infrastructure so people will buy and use more electric vehicles," he said. 

The company is providing free-to-use electric charging sites that are no more than 200 kilometres apart along the Trans Canada Highway to promote the use of zero-emission transportation to Canadians because it believes Canada can and will be a world leader in this innovation.

"People are embracing it," Misch says. "Canadians are ready for this." 

Sun Country Highway is revealing locations of it's network of free electric vehicle charging sites as the Tesla Roadster and the team on the highway test and visit each one of them but electric vehicle owners across the country have spotted them already.

Electric vehicle owner community forums and social media sites are all buzzing with the news as each new site is discovered. 

Misch provided a glowing recommendation for the locations of the charging sites in Blind River and Sault Ste. Marie.

"When we stopped to charge the Tesla at the one in Blind River, at Pier Seventeen, we also had a dinner and they showed us around the community," he said. "We got a great meal and got to know some very friendly, enthusiastic people. If it weren't for the charging site we probably wouldn't have stopped there and discovered the place." 

"In the Sault, we stayed at this lovely hotel with a great view of the waterfront and the river," Misch said. "We took a look around and enjoyed the beautiful surroundings and friendly people."

Sun Country Highway decided to work with partners in the tourism industry to boost ecotourism across Canada and make sure as many people as possible benefit economically from the electric vehicle industry. 

The partners they approached saw the potential benefit of having electric vehicle owners stop at their establishments for the time it takes to charge their vehicles and are paying for the electricity they use so the service can be free. 

"Even if the drivers only have a couple cups of coffee it pays for the electricity they use to recharge the batteries in their cars," said Misch. 

The recharge time varies widely between electric vehicle models and depends on the type of battery in the car, the weight of the vehicle, and the efficiency of the drive train.

It can take as much as five or six hours to recharge a battery that is completely empty, but most of the time, people using the sites won't be charging from empty, he added. 

Also, battery technology is advancing quickly and as it does the range of a charge increases and the time it takes to recharge decreases. 

The Tesla Roadster has a range of almost 400 km but it's a 'super' electric vehicle, said Misch.

Some of the new Sun Country Highway charging sites are only a few kilometres apart and others more but it's never more than 200 kilometres between them, he said.

That's about the range of most of the electric vehicles currently on the road.

To learn more about Sun Country Highway, please click here

Comments
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Zing 12/6/2012 4:55:41 PM Report

Great idea, I wonder who is paying that tab?
zod 12/6/2012 6:33:48 PM Report

Ummm, the company Sun Country highway gave the Trans Canada Highway the charging units and the charging locations are paying for electricity...
Alken 12/6/2012 6:56:14 PM Report

Want to experience "range anxiety"? It's 220 km. to Wawa.
LSARC 12/6/2012 7:12:31 PM Report

An analysis be the National Research Council concluded that the environmental damage stemming from grid dependent electric and hybrid-electric vehicles will be greater than traditional gasoline-driven cars until at least 2030 given expected technological advances.

So instead of running on oil/gasoline these cars now run on coal, natural gas and nuclear.
BlackHelix 12/6/2012 8:22:36 PM Report

@LSARC

Nice job cherry picking the data! In actuality, NRCAN has an entire road-map on HOW to get to implement battery powered/dependent cars - where they clearly provide evidence in opposition to what you just said.

http://canmetenergy.nrcan.gc.ca/sites/canmetenergy.nrcan.gc.ca/files/pdf/fichier/81890/ElectricVehicleTechnologyRoadmap_e.pdf

And btw...you're also for getting wind, solar and hydro electric power, but of course they don't support your ignorance so I can see why you would forget them..
BlackHelix 12/6/2012 8:23:21 PM Report

http://canmetenergy.nrcan.gc.ca/transportation/hybrid-electric/329
outcrop 12/7/2012 10:14:35 AM Report

Till it takes the same time to fuel up as to charge up,I think I'll stick to my gas guzzling vehicle..I can just imagine going on a trip with the kids and have to entertain them for 3 hrs till fully charged..YIKES..and be sure to bring an extra battery when going threw Wawa cause you never know, Strange things happens in Wawa.
Stevie-E 12/7/2012 10:45:13 AM Report

That's a start, but a 4-lane across Canada would be nice, keeping CANADIANS spending IN CANADA...supporting CANADIAN businesses along their journey.

That's where I would like my tax dollars to go, please

Let's create jobs for people.
LSARC 12/7/2012 11:31:32 AM Report

BUYER BEWARE: CAREFUL READING IS AN ESSENTIAL SKILL

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL findings are quoted in "Green Illusions" by Ozzie Zehner with reference to 20. National Research Council, Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use (Washington DC: National Academies Press, 2010)

ELECTRIC CARS RUN ON NUCLEAR, COAL OR NATURAL GAS AND SO DO the the unreliables like WIND AND SOLAR ...see also "Green Illusions" at greenillusions.org

READ THE FINE PRINT:

"The evTRM is an industry led, federal government coordinated document, focused on the development and adoption of EVs in Canada" and it is admittedly a "strategic vision for highway-capable battery-electric,
plug-in and other hybrid-electric vehicle"

You should be reading that as industry saying "GIVE US BUCKETS OF TAXPAYER MONEY"

http://canmetenergy.nrcan.gc.ca/transportation/hybrid-electric/1824

READING BETWEEN THE LINES:

"Research confirms that consumers in North America are willing to pay more for an EV if the environmental benefits are significant." The qualifying phrase "if the environmental benefits are significant", is key since we have already shown benefits are dubions to say the least!

NRCAN shows a modicum of moral fibre when it posts this disclaimer:

The Roadmap and this Executive Summary provide the perspective of numerous stakeholders and were prepared under the direction of the Industry Steering Committee. The contents, conclusions and recommendations are not necessarily endorsed by participating organizations and their employees nor by the Government of Canada.

WHAT IS CONCEALED:

The Industry Steering Committee membership list is password protected just in case you have no clue who the vested interests might be!
RE:Volt 12/7/2012 1:38:07 PM Report

@Black Helix

Your lack of knowledge about the whole subject led you to confuse National Research Council with NRCAN, no doubt. So you see, it wasn't cherry-picking, LSARC was referring to a study by the National Research Council in Washington DC, "Hidden cost of Energy: Consequences of Energy Production and Use" published by National Academies Press in 2010.

Unlike the entirely theoretical, pie-in-the-sky, industry sponsored appeal for subsidy on the NRCAN site, which you linked to, the National Research Council study is based on the best empirical evidence and data available at the time. Among other things things it considers the life-cycle energy and environmental costs of the technology. Based upon this real data and real-world evidence it concluded that "environmental damage from grid dependent hybrid and electric vehicles will be greater than traditional gasoline driven cars until at least 2030 given expected technological advances".

The conclusions of that study are supported by The Norwegian University of Science and Technology study which came to similar conclusions.

On top of the fact that electric and hybrid vehicles produce more CO2 than conventional vehicles when used in countries whose grid has a very significant percentage of fossil-fuel generated electricity, Prof. Stromman's study also found that

"Across the other impacts considered in the analysis including potential for effects related to acid rain, airborne particulate matter, smog, human toxicity, ecosystem toxicity and depletion of fossil fuel and mineral resources, electric vehicles consistently perform worse or on par with modern internal combustion engine vehicles, despite virtually zero direct emissions during operation,”

The NRCAN document you linked to isn't a study on the actual performance or savings (CO2 or otherwise) of electric and hybrid vehicles, it is an outline of a proposal to market electric vehicles in Canada - that is a big difference. If we are going to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on developing electric vehicles and their infrastructure in Canada we should first - what a novel and unusual concept - do some due diligence and investigate the cost/benefits of the proposed technology. As usual the benefits promised by those who are invested in the technology are far smaller, or non-existent and the costs much higher than advertised.

Hydro is actually an important part of the energy mix in Ontario at 21.9% of today's generation, coal is 9.18%, Natural Gas 13.3%, Wind 0.95%, Solar & other 1.19% and nuclear at 53.48%. Considering that coal, gas and nuclear represent 76% of generation in the Province I think it is safe to say EVs run on them, certainly not on Wind. Put another way, the average distance, under ideal conditions, that current EVs will drive is about 125Km. Based on that Wind will take you 1.2 kilometers, solar+ other 1.5 kilometers, Hydro 27.4 kilometers and coal + gas + nuclear 95 kilometers. Wind also relies on conventional energy generation for its construction, operation and backup, so that the actual distance driven on "pure wind power" alone would be much less and perhaps even 0, depending on the studies and the grid mix.

Now I know you will try and pick nits about the average distance and point out that the Tesla claims a 400Km range, however the vast majority of the EV cars sold, like the Nissan Leaf have ranges around 115 kilometers. Those range specifications are under ideal conditions. In actual Canadian driving conditions, brand new, these vehicles get only about 80% of the advertised range and that degrades rapidly as the vehicle ages. A lot of EV owners are finding that they need to replace the battery ($8,000 to $12,000) within 2 or 3 years.

As with renewables like wind and solar, EVs are a feel-good marketing product but not currently a real solution or alternative. While reading the industry propaganda is always entertaining and may imbue one with a certain feeling of optimism, it is even more important to look at some real research based on actual data and empirical evidence.

Also personal insults and attacks merely reveal that you are insecure about your own facts and knowledge and wish to distract from their deficiencies. Such comments are not conducive to a constructive discussion about these important subjects.
BlackHelix 12/8/2012 1:35:55 PM Report

@Volt

I'll take your points in order.

Firstly, I never confused the National Research Council with NRCAN. In fact, the article I cited was endorsed by and recommended by the National Research Council of CANADA. My fault for assuming that LSARC was talking about the NRC in the United States.

You also talk about having the "best empirical evidence and data available at the time" - to which I completely agree. So you can see why I find your post a little confusing when the article cited from 2010 is NOT the best available peer reviewed evidence we have. I challenge you to look at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) study done in 2011.

Lastly, exactly where did I attack or personally insult the OP? Even if I did, I still find it mildly amusing that you try and show my supposed logical fallacy by committing one yourself.


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